[whatwg] Re: Is this introducing incompatibilities with future W3C work

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Wed Jun 23 06:44:53 PDT 2004

On Wed, 16 Jun 2004, Jim Ley wrote:
> whilst namespaces were perhaps not the best idea in the first place, we
> have them now, and we should ensure that they work.

The WHATWG principles are laid out here:


Note in particular the following points:

   * The core features of an XML vocabulary should require the use of
     elements from only one namespace.

   * It is very important that authors be able to move from an HTML
     environment to a clean compound document environment (typically first
     simply by moving to XHTML) in a gradual fashion.

The net effect of these two points, both of which underpin all WHATWG
work, is that anything added to HTML4 must be added to XHTML1, and that
anything added to XHTML1 must not require namespaces to be used.

>> Note that there is nothing worse about extending XHTML1's namespace
>> than there is over extending HTML4.
> There are many different types of HTML rendered by User Agents today,
> and extended with all sorts of type of element. There is no problem with
> publishing your own DTD with elements with the same name as HTML 4
> elements, lots of people have done it, including me.

I don't understand how DTDs are relevant here.

> If you want to extend XHTML though, the standard way is
> http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml-modularization/

Note the "XHTML module definition" section in the Web Forms 2 proposal.

>> Similarly, DOM extensions such as the extremely popular "as used by GMail"
>> object XMLHttpRequest polute the DOM namespace in the same way.
> The XMLHttpRequest object is NOT a DOM extension, it's part of the
> Application Object Model provided by the UA.

You can call it that if it makes you feel better, but it still polutes the
same namespace. The non-standard innerHTML/outerHTML DOM attributes make a
better case, maybe.

> I expected a much better argument from the WHATWG to have been agreed
> on, than "we don't care much about internet standards".

Don't forget that all this WHATWG work is intended to be submitted to a
standards organisation; like PNG was, for instance.

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

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