Friday, October 24th, 2008

A Peek Inside the W3C

Category: HTML, W3C

I’ve long believed that the Ajax/JavaScript communities and the W3C should communicate more and have more awareness of what both camps are doing so we can work together better and get things done. In light of this, here are some updates on a special W3C meeting that is taking place right now. From October 20th until the 25th the W3C is meeting at something called the TPAC:

TPAC stands for Technical Plenary and Advisory Committee. It’s a unique moment in the year where people involved in W3C communities meet, discuss, argue, fight and make peace, have good food and sweat on tough issues. It’s usually a very interesting week, which helps to remove a lot of misunderstandings built during one year because of online communications.

Anne van Kesteren has been attending and following things. He summarizes a bit of the conference so far around HTML 5:

Some impressions from the plenary day on W3C TPAC 2008 regarding HTML5:

  • Rough agreement HTML5 is needed.
  • Concerns over HTML5 violating Architecture of the World Wide Web, Volume One though editors of that document pointed out the rules are not set in stone and use RFC 2119 SHOULD for a reason.
  • Concerns that HTML5 does not have distributed extensibility. That is, namespaces. What people seem to want is to extend the browser with hundreds of markup languages. (How this keeps things simple to answer was not something I saw addressed.) You need something else than namespaces for that though, to start with. Also, what is wrong with using XML for this?

…What also was funny was that the Web was not about the browser except that lots of people here at TPAC wanted browsers to do things differently. E.g., implement XBL, provide some end user visible UI for errors in a site, et cetera. Not exactly consistent messaging.

Sam Ruby has an interesting response to Anne’s post and some of the issues that were raised:

I’m not there, but I can’t believe that anybody there would ever say or even want to imply that the web does not include browsers.  Perhaps the solution is to add the word “just” to the line, thus: the Web was not just about the browser.  There… all better.  Contradiction is all gone now.

It seems that the distributed extensibility discussion won’t go away like apparently some would hope it would.  This proposal only affects the performance of web pages with element and attribute names which contain a colon in them, and only affects the local name and namespace URI of such elements and attributes.  Values that essentially are unused in HTML4.

It occurs to me that Anne may be intentionally being thick here.  what is wrong with using XML for this? Come on.  I can answer that with two words: IE, and Postel.  Next question?

Posted by Brad Neuberg at 9:00 am
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