[whatwg] The political and legal status of WHATWG

Brian Smith brian at briansmith.org
Thu Jan 10 18:43:00 PST 2008

Ian Hickson wrote:

> > 9.) Should HTML5 be put back under direct control of the 
> > W3C now that they have expressed interest in developing it?
> It is "under direct control of the W3C". It just happens that 
> I'm editor of the spec in the W3C as well as the WHATWG and
> I'm editing the two specs in the exact same way at the same
> time, and am taking input from all sources while editing
> both documents.

In the WHATWG, you have the "Chair" and the "Editor" roles, but in the
W3C working group, you are only the editor. What happens when the W3C
HTML working group disagrees with the WHATWG? Will you edit two
divergent specifications? Are you planning to stay on as the editor of
the W3C version after it diverges from the WHATWG version?

There are a lot of people, including some W3C working group members, who
would prefer a HTML 5 specification that is more limited in scope than
the current WHATWG specification. The time to produce a final HTML 5
recommendation could be significantly reduced simply by dropping
features from the specification that have little to do with HTML. For
example, the data storage and networking APIs should be moved from the
HTML 5 specification into their own specification(s) and the syntax
error handling requirements should be removed in the W3C version. The
bias against the XML serialization should also be removed. The WHATWG
seems determined to "stay the course" on these issues, but there is
(more) opposition within the W3C WG. So, some kind of significant
divergence seems likely.


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