[whatwg] A New Way Forward for HTML5 (revised)

Manu Sporny msporny at digitalbazaar.com
Sun Jul 26 19:58:15 PDT 2009

Peter Kasting wrote:
> On Sun, Jul 26, 2009 at 6:26 PM, Manu Sporny <msporny at digitalbazaar.com
> <mailto:msporny at digitalbazaar.com>> wrote:
>     > If people sending emails containing proposals, and having the editor
>     > directly respond to all of those emails, frequently by changing the
>     > spec, does not give you the impression you can impact the
>     specification,
>     > I'm not sure what would.
>     Having a distributed source control system in place that would provide
>     the tools available to generate, modify and submit specification text
>     for HTML5. Having the ability to generate alternate HTML5 specification
>     text.
> Are you are saying that writing an email is too taxing, but checking
> text in and out of source control is not?

No, I'm not saying that. Writing an e-mail is great, submitting comments
directly from the specification is better. There is nothing wrong with
those avenues if one wants to contribute changes via Ian to the HTML5

However, if one wants to disagree in a non-combative way with Ian's
specification or wants to work on a bigger set of changes to the HTML5
specification, we currently don't provide any tools to make that easy
and I think we should.

Respectful disagreement is healthy, it can lead to better solutions.

If Ian disagrees with me on some specification text, he can create a
solution (Microdata) that he feels is the best way forward and he can
insert that into his specification.

However, if I disagree with Ian on some specification text (RDFa), I
currently don't have a way to create a specification that people can
look at without having to know a great deal about how to build the
specification in the first place.

Ideally, people would be able to edit the HTML5 specification from a web
browser, in their own "developer sandbox", and provide alternate
language or sections that could be mixed and matched with Ian's
specification so that others may know the exact text that is being proposed.

> If not, see the final paragraph below.
>     The tools and mechanism doesn't exist to do this easily in the HTML5
>     community. The process is unclear and undocumented. I'm working to
>     resolve these issues.
> Ian has just added a way to submit comments immediately, anonymously, on
> the spec itself.  Does this ameliorate your concern?  I can hardly
> imagine a lower barrier to entry.

No, it doesn't because I would have a hard time proposing the HTML5+RDFa
specification using that interface, or the next HTML5+SVG specification,
or other extensions to HTML5.

The mechanism that I'm proposing allows people to effectively put their
spec text where their mouth is and produce an alternate specification
for review, without having to convince Ian to work on the new feature.

Ian would still have the final say on whether or not the changes would
be integrated into his specification. That wouldn't change.

> It seems like the only thing you could ask for beyond this is the
> ability to directly insert your own changes into the spec without prior
> editorial oversight.  I think that might be what you're asking for.
>  This seems very unwise.

I'm not proposing that anybody should be able to modify Ian's
specification. Ian has made it very clear that he reserves that right.

What I'm proposing is that the community should provide tools that are
capable of generating multiple /alternate/ HTML5 specifications (based
on Ian's specification) for consideration by the community. These might
include alternate ways of doing structured data in HTML, a stripped-down
version of HTML5, a web developer friendly version of the specification,
and various other documents that are all based off of Ian's specification.

I'll release the first set of tools for doing so tomorrow morning.

-- manu

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny)
President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Bitmunk 3.1 Released - Browser-based P2P Commerce

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