[whatwg] some issues

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 6 02:03:28 PDT 2004

Jim Ley wrote:
> On Mon, 05 Jul 2004 20:57:18 -0400, Matthew Raymond wrote:
> That the fact the spec is small is completely irrelevant to your point
> 1.   There's no reason why W3

    "W3"? I thought we had a number of different standards bodies to 
submit to. Are you suggestion that W3C is the only organization of 
concern here?

 > process would be slower with a single
> spec than 3 indeed it's likely to be faster (one fixed length
> CR/PR/REC phase rather than 3)

This is incorrect because:

1) It assumes serial development, submission and feedback. In fact, the 
separate specifications do not have to be developed and processed on 
after another. Note that there have already been discussions on Web Apps 

2) A spec that takes three times as long to submit gives people three 
times longer to argue about any one issue in the specification.

3) Web Controls 1.0 may be delayed by the W3C's current work on XBL2, so 
we'd probably have to send at least two specifications anyway to avoid 
being at the mercy of the W3C's schedule. (And yes, I do mean the W3C 
specifically, since they are the ones working on the sXBL and XBL2 
proposals right now.)

>>We can't get feedback on what we don't submit,
> You use WE a lot, are you a member of the WHAT WG?

    If you don't feel like part of the process, you don't have to post 
on this mailing list.

>>   More along the lines of if W3--er--the various standards
>>organizations seem resistant to specific concepts or wording, we can try
>>something different in the next spec, or try submitting to a different
>>standards organization.
> Oh right so if WF2 fails to be accepted by the W3, (and you seem to be
> hinting that that's option,

    I'm not dumb enough to just assume that our very first proposal will 
be accepted by the very first standards organization we submit it to, if 
that's what you mean.

 > but I don't really see why you're saying
> that from what's been said on this list.)

    If I "seem to be hinting" it, how can I be outright saying it?

 > the plan is to just send in Web Controls [1.0]

    What plan are you referring to, since I'm not a member of the WHAT 
WG? Also, why couldn't WHAT WG just submit the same specification to 
another standards body that's more receptive to it?

    This is also not necessarily a pass/fail situation. Later specs can 
benefit from our experience with earlier ones that are successfully 

> I think the process will be pretty dead if the
> first one gets rejected,

    How does sending only one specification change this?

 > there'll be simply no credibility to carry
> through more.

    If we submit one massive specification that contains everything and 
it gets rejected, then our credibility most certainly will be shot, 
because we'll have spent three times longer before submitting anything 
and have nothing left to submit.

> The Open process of the WHAT WG only defines this mailing list as the
> place to give comments, so yes, also Ian has said the WG consensus is
> currently to follow what the mailing list says (see archive)  If
> there's discussion going on elsewhere then it's following the process
> and we return to the problem of this not really being percieved to be
> an open process - "What's the point of kvetching about the W3C being
> too private and then being even more private yourself?" Kendall Grant
> Clark.

    Does a private email to Ian by one of the members saying "the latest 
draft looks fine" rise to the level of being a closed process? Keep in 
mind I was talking about hypothetical reasons about why we hadn't heard 
much from a couple of WHAT WG members.

>>   Furthermore, standards organizations have plenty of experts of their
>>own. If we miss something, they can fill in the gaps. The proposals we
>>produce don't have to be perfect.
> That kinds make this whole process pointless, why not just take the
> use cases to the standards body, a few basic proposals (sort of where
> WF2 was 6 months ago) and get them to set up a working group - if
> we're not going to do it properly, there's no point being fast or
> outside the regular organisations.

    There's something called the Law of Diminishing Returns. At some 
point you have to say that something is good enough to submit, and the 
fact that a few WHAT WG members have been a little quiet on the mailing 
list is not sufficient cause to say a draft proposal isn't good enough.

>>Secondly, why can't we just create a Web Forms 2.0
>>Mobile Profile?
> Because most mobile browsers aren't upgradeable?

    Not sure what you mean.

 > So we need the spec
> to degrade into these legacy ones, which means we need to be able to
> publish to those document types (unless we're going to exclude these
> UA's entirely)

    And you feel that the current specification doesn't degrade to these 
UAs because...?

>>   Why would they not know that? Their browser isn't compatible with
>>the archive site? They have trouble with our mailing list? An open
>>process means not being surprised by the final draft.
> The problem is perception, 3 browser vendors are absolutely
> controlling the process, it doesn't appear open currently. 

    First of all, there are only seven members. How many different 
browser vendors can they represent? Secondly, what browser vendors are 
complaining about the openness of this group? If there are specific 
vendors that feel excluded, either invite them to voice their concerns 
on the mailing list or deliver those concerns to the list yourself on 
their behalf. Going on and on about how we're giving the shaft to some 
hypothetical UA vendor is a complete waste of our time.

> Competitive advantage by inventing new elements etc. is how the war
> was fought 9 years ago, I think people are right to be suspicious.

    Suspicion and reason are not the same thing. For instance, how many 
of the players from nine years ago are present in the WHAT WG? The 
Mozilla Foundation didn't exist. Safari didn't exist. Opera may have 
been around, but they certainly weren't a major player. What is your 
rationale for suspecting the current members of the WHAT WG specifically?

>>Not likely, especially
>>when you consider the fact that the guy running the show is the same guy
>>leaking early drafts of the XBL2 proposal.
> That hardly means anything, and it's certainly not something to
> applaud, indeed this lack of caring about process is one of the things
> that makes me have severe reservations about the WHAT WG process.  IF
> he doesn't follow W3, why would he follow this one?

    So what you're saying is we can't trust him to keep this process 
open because the W3C couldn't trust him to keep their process completely 
closed? (Keep in mind, I know nothing about the rules concerning how the 
XBL2 development is supposed to be conducted, and therefore I do not 
know if what I call "leaks" are a true violation of process rules. It 
may simply be that discussion is not open to the public, but there's on 
official secrecy requirement.)

>>   Only if you want to support Web Controls 1.0.
> Yes, but lets imagine you do, because your competitors do, you're not
> going to sell your UA if it can't render pages as well as others.

    Are you honestly trying to tell me that you think a company is going 
to hold up development of a commercial browser until an informal group 
of seven guys sends a proposal to a standards body? And what platform is 
it that these companies are releasing on that is so powerful it can 
support XBL2? It sounds like you're describing a PC, in which case 
you're talking about a commercial browser vendor going head-to-head with 
Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla and Opera. So you're saying a company with a 
marketshare so small it may not even register in statistics is going to 
worry about a proposal that hasn't even been submitted to a standards body?

    You keep talking about your concern for vendors. Funny, but I don't 
see the vendors complaining. I see YOU complaining, frequently about 
fictional vendors that don't even seem to exist. Stop wasting our time.

>>   Perhaps rather than using scare tactics ("WHAT WG is an Opera
>>puppet!") to make this process more open and impartial, you should just
>>outright suggest how the process could be more open and impartial.
> I've done that, see the archive, all the comments have been rejected
> as far as I can see.

    I've seen your comments, and for those that were rejected (not all 
of them, BTW), I read a rational reason as to why they were rejected. 
For example, your concern about the copyright of the draft was addressed 
when Ian agreed to look into getting the draft put in public domain, 
while your suggestion that WHAT WG be made a corporation was dismissed 
because this work group is not a formal standards organization and does 
not require a legal entity such as the one you suggest.

>>2) By the time Longhorn comes out,
> What has Longhorn got to do with anything?

    Well, since you cut off the rest of the quote, the readers will 
never know, will they?

>>3) Macromedia and Adobe have no interest supporting Web Forms because
>>they both have competing products (Flash and SVG).
> Yet, they're still rendering more web documents and applications every
> day than the three browser vendors in the WHAT WG.  Maybe they should
> try and get some of their input?

    Adobe and Macromedia are both partners in other initiative with the 
very same companies that have employees as members of WHAT WG, so I 
doubt they're ignorant of our existence. If they wanted to participate, 
they could. Furthermore, I don't recall any product of theirs that uses 
HTML or XHTML. Heck, Macromedia even had a subset of XUL called XML2UI 
in one of their products, which could be considered a competitor to some 
of the features in Web Apps 1.0. Did it ever occur to you that they 
don't contribute because they have absolutely no reason to contribute?

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