[whatwg] clear naming for WHAT work

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Aug 17 06:59:03 PDT 2004

On Wed, 14 Jul 2004, Dean Jackson wrote:
> I compliment WHAT you have achieved so far.


> However, I'm personally still in favour of declaring HTML 4 a done deal 
> - don't extend it. I'm not suggesting HTML 4 is dead, or that we should 
> try to kill it. Rather, I think it is time to call new work "new work".
> I suggested privately that you call this effort HTML 5. I still think 
> this is a good idea. I notice that your DOCTYPE includes "HTML5".

On the long term, this is likely to be what we do. For now, the split into 
Web Forms and Web Apps, both labelled as being extensions to HTML4, is 
mainly for convenience for the development process.

> Dave Hyatt responded that HTML 5 was a bad name because the new features 
> work in XHTML as well. Is this acceptable? One of the benefits of XHTML 
> is that you (are supposed to :) know what is happening. If it is an 
> extension to XHTML, it probably should use the XHTML extension 
> mechanisms.

I don't understand why extending HTML would be any different than 
extending XHTML. In the UAs, they are internally considered the same 
anyway, so you can't really extend one without extending the other.

> I really don't think you should add new elements like <output> to the 
> XHTML namespace. The reason the namespace is there is precisely so you 
> don't have to do this. Tim Bray describes this better than me.  (For 
> full disclosure, the W3C also broke this rule when adding Ruby to the 
> XHTML namespace - but IMO it's still wrong).

One of the founding principles of WHATWG is that wo won't require that 
authors use namespaces.

> Tim Bray also suggests that you fake the namespaces in HTML (ie 
> <what:output>). I'm with him on this.

This isn't, IMHO, good design. Authors do not care if the tags were 
invented by WHATWG or W3C or Microsoft or Netscape; they just want to use 

> A final point. How open are these specifications?  The reason I ask is 
> that it *may* be the case that some things here are useful in W3C work. 
> Can we use it, with attribution of course?  At the moment it says (c) 
> Opera, which is fine but I suggest you have some licensing agreement in 
> place as soon as possible.

Yeah, working on that. If you have any specific questions, let me know, 
and we can work something out.

> Otherwise if a bunch of other HTML browser vendors (such as the many 
> that are working hard on Mobile devices and Embedded Systems) create 
> their own version of the WHAT group which develops different 
> specifications and ships to the hundreds of millions of devices they 
> support each year, it is not clear if they can use WHAT work.

Fragmenting the specs is a bad thing. The WHATWG specs are designed to be 
implementable on small devices, so it is not really clear to me why anyone 
would need to create a new version of these specs as you describe.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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