[whatwg] Removing versioning from HTML

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Fri Aug 14 04:01:31 PDT 2009

On Sun, 9 Aug 2009, Aaron Boodman wrote:
> I frequently see the comment on this list and in other forums that 
> something is "too late" for HTML5, and therefore discussion should be 
> deferred.
> I would like to propose that we get rid of the concepts of "versions" 
> altogether from HTML. In reality, nobody supports all of HTML5. Each 
> vendor supports a slightly different subset of the spec, along with some 
> features that are outside the spec.
> This seems OK to me. Instead of insisting that a particular version of 
> HTML is a monolithic unit that must be implemented in its entirety, we 
> could have each feature (or logical group of features) spun off into its 
> own small spec. We're already doing this a bit with things like Web 
> Workers, but I don't see why we don't just do it for everything.
> Just as they do now, vendors would decide at the end of the day which 
> features they would implement and which they would not. But we should 
> never have to say that "the spec is too big". If somebody is interested 
> in exploring an idea, they should be able to just start doing that.

I agree in principle.

With HTML5, we had an anomalous event in that the HTML4 spec was unusable 
as a base, due to its woeful inadequacies in terms of precision in 
implementation requirements, and the large holes in terms of what the 
platform involves relative to what it specified.

Moving forward, I would like to move to a model that is less tied to 
versions. I expect to start looking at this kind of thing next year.

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

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