Call four comments 4 is out (Was: [whatwg] Web Forms 2.0 submission to W3C)

Dean Jackson dean at
Wed Apr 13 04:42:46 PDT 2005

On 13 Apr 2005, at 19:31, Ian Hickson wrote:

> On Wed, 13 Apr 2005, Dean Jackson wrote:
>>> Ok. Could you provide us with a list of features you believe need use
>>> cases listed? That would be really helpful in creating such a
>>> document.
>> All of them.
> That's never going to happen, just like the XHTML working group has 
> never
> published a document with use cases for all their features.
> Ditto the SVG group,

The SVG group has published requirements documents for its
features. So has the CDF Group, which you participate in.
Sure, the requirements documents don't always get updated as
often as the specification and they are not completely
comprehensive, but it does help the reader understand
where you're coming from.

One reason why I ask for this is that I've been talking to
HTML developers about the WHATWG work and WebForms 2.0. I ask
them what they think WHAT are doing. In most cases, they're
not sure. Sometimes they've read some press articles and think that
it's two browser vendors at war with W3C. If they do
answer something like "WHAT are improving HTML forms" I then
ask them if they know what improvements are being made. Honestly,
I've never met anyone outside the subscribers to this list that
really know what you're doing. This isn't meant to be an insult.
It's just that I've been looking for average people so that
they can educate me on why they need WF2.

I think you have made some impressive improvements here. Many times
when we've chatted in person, you've explained to me the reasoning
behind the new features. It's helped me understand why/how/etc.
Please think of the people that don't have the chance to chat
to Ian Hickson in person.

> the CSS group

Wow, that's true. The CSS group have never published a requirements
document for any of their work.

It did publish a document 7 years ago listing potential new features.

> , and so forth. Most of the features have quite
> obvious use cases -- for example the use case for the first feature in 
> the
> Web Apps draft -- <html> -- is having a predictable root element for 
> the
> document or document fragment.

OK, so why is this important? Why are the alternatives so bad?

I'm not talking about the <html> feature, I'm talking about you
empathising with the reader. Remember that you might be making
something that will last a long time. It's quite a responsibility.

> I can maybe find the time to produce a document summarising the use 
> cases
> for the less obvious features (probably by simply copying the text from
> e-mails in the archives of this mailing list, where the features mostly
> originated), but I don't want to waste time doing so for dozens of
> features where the use cases are obvious and nobody disagrees.

That's fair enough. It's your choice. You're a browser developer, so
you'll know how to implement it, and why you're doing it.

As a reader, I wanted to know.

Look, this isn't a big deal. I just made a suggestion. It's obvious
that you don't want to do it. We're wasting time discussing it.


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