Friday, May 11th, 2007

HTML 5: Positive Momentum

Category: HTML

<p>Kevin Yank has written up a roundup of the first six months with the new HTML working group, with one piece of very positive news:

A Surprise Proposal

Before the search could begin, however, representatives of Mozilla, Apple, and Opera came forward with a proposal to adopt the WHAT Working Group’s HTML5 draft specification as a starting point for further development of HTML within the W3C.

After no small amount of discussion, the W3C’s HTML WG today voted to accept the proposal, with these specific outcomes:

  • The WHAT Working Group’s HTML5 (Web Applications 1.0 and Web Forms 2.0) will become the current working draft, and an extensive review by the new working group will now take place.
  • The final W3C specification will be named “HTML 5″.
  • The W3C specification will be edited by Ian Hickson (Google), editor of the WHAT-WG’s HTML5, and David Hyatt (Apple/Safari).

And there we have it: the harmful division that had come to exist between the major browser vendors and the W3C seems to be a thing of the past! So far so good, right?

Of course, there are still big challenges ahead, not least of which will be getting this large and open working group to agree on a seemingly endless list of technical minutiae.

It is good to see the great work in HTML 5 to be used as a starting point, and I look forward to watching where things go from here!

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Posted by Dion Almaer at 2:01 am
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I’ve heard a frankly diverging opinion on this issue.

I haven’t had the time to follow any of this, myself, so I’m not implying that either one is wrong. Just that there seems to be some discordance.

Comment by Tobie Langel — May 11, 2007

What does convergence of the W3C and the WHAT-WG does have to do with accessibility problems in the new HTML 5 spec. The link you posted is about an entirely different subject and has nothing to do with the content of this news post.

Comment by Laurent Haan — May 11, 2007

Really great news. WHATWG + W3C together will mean nice possibilities for us in the future, those are not non-w3c, browser related, but “official”.

Comment by András Bártházi — May 11, 2007

Laurent, I was referring to the title of the post.

Comment by Tobie Langel — May 11, 2007

oh html5, please let me set a width for an inline element.

Comment by Joe Larson — May 11, 2007

That’s presentation…

Comment by Tim Cooijmans — May 11, 2007

Tobie, the link you posted comes from an accessibility and semantics advocate. This crowd represents a minority of users, yet until now they have absolutely dominated the W3C, to the exclusion of more common user classes. As a result, the W3C web technologies are poorly suited to web application development. It’s nice to see the common usage scenario (web applications) see some attention from the standards process.

Comment by Joeri — May 11, 2007

Joeri, couldn’t agree with you more. I think the HTML5 spec much more closely matches what most of us are *actually* doing with the web. Fabulous news.

Comment by Ryan Johnson — May 11, 2007

@Ryan Johnson: What you’re doing and what you should do are two entirely different things. Most designers are completely forgetting that the most important and ultimate reason, the Internet was even conceived for, is access to information. Unfortunately, in our modern consumerist society, design and fancy animations are more important than easy accessible content.

I’d rather see enhanced accessibility support for disabled people, as they also deserve access to information. We are not entitled to behave like an elitist group where we can decide who has access to what information and our main goal should be to make the information open to the broadest possible usergroup, even if it means cutting back on the visual aspects.

Comment by Laurent Haan — May 11, 2007

Laurent,

Staircases aren’t very useful for folks in wheelchairs, and yet they’re still in use everywhere. You seem to be implying that everything in the spec should be inherently accessible. I’d argue that the most pragmatic way to approach accessibility is with an alternate path – as we do in the real world, with a ramp or elevator beside the staircase. I haven’t reviewed the HTML5 spec in any detail, but presume there’s nothing there which stops me from creating a more simplified version of my application which is accessible.

Best,

Matt

Comment by Matt — May 11, 2007

So, HTML5 shouldn’t have , since blind people can’t watch video? Ohh….

Comment by nea — May 11, 2007

I think there needs to be some balance between accessibility vs. realistic use case scenarios. I am all for creating accessible sites (I take pain to do so wherever possible), but people are making very valid points.

I see a lot of parallels to a recent Penn & Teller episode :)

Comment by Will — May 11, 2007

Ummm, until the word Microsoft starts appearing in these posts, nothing will change. Are they on board?

Comment by matt m — May 12, 2007

Joe Larson: Width of an inline element? Yup, that’s in css21. Set your elements to display: inline-block. Works in Opera, IE and a few others. According to bugzilla it’s even fixed in ff now, after only 8 years. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=9458

Comment by nicths — May 13, 2007

@Matt

I agree with you completely. In practice web applications that offer rich functionality (e.g. gmail) already have to offer alternative paths (“basic mode”) for the disabled. What the W3C needs to do is standardize the practice.

Comment by Joeri — May 14, 2007

nea, that was really stupid and selfish comment :(

Stairs are actually really good example of this problem. Speaking of stairs we mean stairs and nothing else – no ramps – and this is the problem. Definition of stairs doesn’t include ramps. We can build ramps (or elevators) at the same time, but wouldn’t things be easier for widest possible group of people if stairs would automatically include ramps? All the time there is more and more important information of basic things in internet and I believe we can’t be so socially blind that we forget people with disabilities. It is good practise to use alternative paths when possible, but how many will do that extra effort if they don’t have to? When you walk in the streets just count places where there are stairs, but now ramp or any other way to go in for people with wheelchair. Oh.. and don’t forget that accessibility isn’t just for people with disabilities! Stairs example again – think people with baby buggy or luggage. Keeping accessibility in mind won’t harm anyone, but helps lots of people.

PS. I’m not native English speaker so I’m sorry for any mistakes in the text.

Comment by rainman — May 14, 2007

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