[whatwg] some issues

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 5 06:53:17 PDT 2004

C Williams wrote:
> 2.) You really should change the stylesheet and 'Working Draft'
> image.

Good point. I would like to volunteer to make a new stylesheet for WHAT 
WG specifications.

> 3.)"This specification clarifies and extends the semantics put
> forth in [HTML4] for form controls and form submission."
> [1.1. Relationship to HTML]
> "some of the features added in this module only apply to XHTML
> documents"
> [1.2. Relationship to XHTML]
> Can you actually say this, in the legal sense?
> The W3C Document License
> [http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/2002/copyright-documents-20021231]
> under which the specifications are released, states:
> "No right to create modifications or derivatives of W3C
> documents is granted pursuant to this license."
> The W3C Intellectual Rights Notice and Legal Disclaimers
> [http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/2002/ipr-notice-20021231]
> states:
> "No material may be modified, edited or *taken out of context*
> such that its use creates a false or misleading statement or
> impression as to the positions, statements or actions of W3C."
> Sure, there's grey area there, but I'm not *certain*, legally,
> that you're allowed to even purport to extend their specs* in
> any way. Note that I'm talking about the language used, not the
> idea. Which leads to ...

    This is a little silly. First of all, the above quotations refer to 
direct use of or misrepresentation of copyright materials. If they 
really extended to specifications for extensions, it would interfere 
with other standards groups and prevent the very open dialog necessary 
to keep W3C relevant. By trying to enforce licensing in the way you 
suggest, the W3C would destroy their relationships with some of their 
most important members, and they would also be on incredibly shakey 
legal ground as well.

> ==========
> 4.) Where are the DTD's / Schemas?
> HTML and XHTML are *tightly specified* by SGML / XML boundaries.
> Where are yours? This is a major issue considering that you are
> contemplating introducing new tags and attributes. Not only
> that, but you are contemplating taking liberties with previous
> definitions and allowing arrangement of tags and attributes
> which are proscribed by the W3C DTDs.
> For example:
> i.) [1.6. Conformance requirements]
> "Documents that use the new features described in this
> specification using XHTML or other XML languages over HTTP must
> be served using an XML MIME type such as application/xml or
> application/xhtml+xml and must not be served as text/html.
> [RFC3023] Documents served in this way *may contain a DOCTYPE if
> desired, but this is not required*."
> Please see both [http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/#strict] and
> [http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml11/conformance.html#strict],
> specifically note [4] in both cases:
> "*There must be a DOCTYPE declaration in the document* prior to
> the root element. The public identifier included in the DOCTYPE
> declaration must reference ... "
 > *Extending* a specification is one thing; rearranging it for no
 > apparent reason is something else.

    The mime type "text/html" is not appropriate for XHTML. The only 
reason it's even in the W3C specs is because the W3C is bowing to 
pressure from people who want to use XHTML in browsers that don't 
actually support it, but instead treat it as if it were HTML code soup. 
This encourages hybrid XHTML/HTML code that doesn't conform to 
standards. (I've actually seen this happen.)

    You have a slight point about extension versus modification. Perhaps 
WHAT WG should change its terminology, but not it's goals.

> ii.) [2. Extensions to form control elements]
> "Also, as controls no longer need to be contained within their
> form element to be associated with it, authors may prefer to
> declare their forms in advance, at the top of their documents.
> The form element is therefore allowed in the head element of
> XHTML documents, although only when the form element is empty."
> This is not allowed by any of the W3C specs. Moreover, what's
> the point, if the element has to be empty? Considering the
> allowance of a control's attribute to specify the parent form (a
> good idea IMO), surely forward declarations at the beginning of
> the body element are adequate (bearing in mind that you're
> allowing empty form elements and they should take up no space),
> and previous-specification-legal?
> Again: it's a legitimate line of enquiry to try and extend the
> specs IMO, but not to completely rearrange them to your suiting.
> This brings us round to the mime-type / namespace pollution
> issue. Is it really right for you to allow documents of this
> extended type to be served as text/html, application/xml or
> application/xhtml+xml? They're clearly NOT.

    I believe the whole idea of WHAT WG is to create extensions to the 
standards that use those MIME types. Are you suggesting that any work on 
  an existing standard should require a new MIME type?

> Alternatively; a possibly superior method: 
> Submit *all* these proposals as HTML 4.1 or 5. That's what they
> purport to be anyway.

    For several reasons:

1) We plan to release multiple specifications that extend HTML.

2) Our specifications are not limited to HTML/XHTML. They also deal with 
CSS, DOM and scripting.

3) The W3C has been moving to a more modular system of specifications. 
CSS 3 and XHTML 1.1 are good examples.

> As it is, your timescale is based on
> piecemeal development of the three proposed specifications, and
> yet each relies on the others to a certain extent.

    How do you determine interdependency based on a single specification 
(Web Forms 2.0)??? Right now, the other two specifications are just 
shells with a few notes in them. It may be a good suggestion to limit 
dependencies between the specs, but that hardly means such dependencies 
exist when two of them aren't even written yet.

 > No standards
> body is going to ratify the individual segments which, in
> isolation from the others, represent something of an incomplete
> spec.

    How so? Web Forms 2.0 deals with extending form functionality. Web 
Apps 1.0 will deal with new widgets intended for web applications. Web 
Controls 1.0 will involve creating a system by which web developers can 
easily create custom widgets. All of these sound like separate 
extensions to me.

 > Get them *all* ready, and submit them *all* as an
> extension to HTML, dropping the XML component.

    Why? Why create one incredibly long specification that will put 
people off by its mere size? Why drop XHTML support when the browser 
vendors that have employees as members of WHAT WG all support XHTML?

[Parts about grammar, structure, et cetera, snipped. Ian will probably 
address these himself, so I'm not going to bother at the moment.]

    You may not wish to directly criticize the policy decisions of WHAT 
WG, then make editorial suggestions IN THE SAME MESSAGE. Annoying the 
very people you're asking to make corrections IMMEDIATELY before 
suggesting them is not wise.

    Another thing is that this email is a perfect example of why we 
should NOT submit all three specifications as one. This email could have 
easily been divided up over several emails by topic, but instead you 
send one really long email and I got tired of reading half way through.

> I'm aware that the above sounds like a prime example of general
> cynicism and malaise, but there is a purpose behind it. 

    A purpose that would no doubt be better stated at the beginning of 
an email this size and critical nature than at the end...

> Many of the ideas contained in the specification are useful,
> practical, good ideas, but they'll never see the light of day
> unless you get everything right. I'm aware that the working
> document announced that you wished to begin shipping product
> before Christmas but I feel that, in order to be taken
> seriously, this just is not feasible.

    I suppose they should just wait until Longhorn ships then...

 > Leaking these specs and
> UAs as and when they are ready, in small segments, does nobody
> any good.

    How is this "leaking"? If Microsoft submits XAML to the W3C, is 
their XAML documentation a "leak"? This is an open process. How can it 
"leak" anything?

> At the moment, this working group has all the hallmarks of a
> brand new rocket: Modern, based on pragmatism, derived from
> existing technology, but unfortunately oriented towards a
> mountainside. rather than towards space ...

    Well, I'm sure glad you didn't end this message with general 
cynicism and malaise...

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