[whatwg] Joe Clark's Criticisms of the WHATWG and HTML 5

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Fri Mar 23 07:21:27 PDT 2007

Nicholas Shanks wrote:
> On 23 Mar 2007, at 02:27, Robert Brodrecht wrote:
>> Just because "most ... doesn't bother" doesn't mean it ought to be 
>> removed.
>> So let's not ignore elements because "no one uses them."
>> Ignore them because they are useless.
> I was thinking more along the lines of:
> 1) We start with a set containing all potential authors, human and 
> robotic, past present and future.
> 2) We remove from that set the people and programs who don't care about 
> or are not willing to learn correct methods of authorship, these people 
> should have no say.
> 3) We then take a poll of every possible string value for new elements, 
> and sort the result as a priority list, amalgamating words that mean the 
> same thing.
> 4) We decide how many elements HTML should have (i.e. how complicated it 
> should be/how hard for new people to learn), and cut the list at this 
> number.
> 5) We then use this as the new HTML.
> That way I'm sure there would be 100 million votes for <copyright> and 
> perhaps 250,000 votes for <var>, <dfn>, <kbd> etc.

Whilst I agree with your conclusion (drop <var>, <dfn>, <kbd>), I disagree with 
your methodology. All possible elements are not equal; some elements can be 
processed by general-purpose UAs to beneficial effect, others cannot. When 
designing the language we should be looking to include the first type of element 
and not the second.

"Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?"
  -- Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

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