[whatwg] Question about the PICS label in HTML5

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Thu Jul 31 14:46:03 PDT 2008

On Tue, 15 Apr 2008, Marco wrote:
> I've been looking through the HTML5 working draft and I've been trying 
> to find a reference for the use of the current PICS labels.

HTML5 currently doesn't define PICS support, but it allows authors to 
define extensions for <meta name> and <link rel> by registering them in 
the wiki.

> I noticed that the new specs only give three accepted keywords for the 
> http-equiv attribute, which doesn't include the current "pics-label": 
> http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#http-equiv0

Right, http-equiv is now defined really to be just a pragma, as opposed to 
metadata of some kind, so pics-label wouldn't really fit.

> Having said that, I was searching within the new specs for a way of 
> accurately describing one's content. I'm somewhat aware of the W3C 
> POWDER WG and the only post that I could find that was recent and 
> relative to this is here: 
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2008Mar/0114.html
> The closest type of markup that comes close to describing content that 
> is accepted with the HTML5 validator is the current ICRA label: <link 
> rel="meta" href="http://yoursite.com/labels.xml" 
> type="application/rdf+xml" title="ICRA labels" />
> My question is: what is the direction for describing the type of content 
> you would have within the context of the HTML5 working draft?

Either a <meta name> or a <link rel> mechanism, probably, or a Microformat 
using class values.

On Thu, 17 Apr 2008, Phil Archer wrote:
> As of today, PICS remains a W3C Recommendation so if HTML 5 is not going 
> to support it in any way, that strikes me as questionable. PICS 
> continues to be supported in Internet Explorer and, much to my surprise, 
> this feature was updated to work with the current ICRA vocabulary in 
> IE7. This was based on research that MSFT did into its usage which found 
> that 'just enough' people used it to warrant its retention. I don't know 
> whether it will survive into IE 8. We do still issue PICS labels 
> (alongside an RDF-based label, the syntax for which is not 
> standardised).

Once HTML5 is completed, I expect PICS will long have been replaced by 
POWDER or other mechanisms, so I don't propose to make HTML5 specifically 
support PICS at this time.

> What do we need for HTML 5?
> Just the link/rel element. A POWDER link will be something like
> <link rel="powder" href="powder.xml" type="application/xml" />

Please register such values at:


On Thu, 17 Apr 2008, Dan Brickley wrote:
> >
> >   http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/RelExtensions
> Erm, 'For the "Status" section to be changed to "Accepted", the proposed 
> keyword must have been through the Microformats process, and been 
> approved by the Microformats community. '
> Is that really so?

I've adjusted that text to mention W3C standards as being fine too.

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

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