[whatwg] HTML6 Doctype

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Aug 24 17:33:46 PDT 2010

On Wed, 25 Aug 2010, David Bruant wrote:
> >
> > It's likely that there won't be an HTML6 --
> "unlikely" (likely-won't) doesn't mean that there won't be. The 
> eventuality should probably not be thrown away that easily. Twenty years 
> ago, who could have predicted what happened until today ? Can we already 
> predict what is going to (not) happen twenty or one hundred years from 
> now ? I think that this statement should be very carefully justified.

Fair enough. I don't think it changes anything in this particular case 

> > not because HTML5 will be the last version, but because we've moved to 
> > an unversioned development model where there is simply a 
> > continually-maintained HTML specification that is always current.
> If, when you say "we", you mean "the WHATWG and the W3C", this is
> incoherent with what is written here :
> http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/FAQ#When_will_HTML5_be_finished.3F

That was out of date. Fixed. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

> Can both [the W3C and the WHATWG] work on the same spec and at the same 
> time for one having a mature enough specification to say "this is a 
> Recommendation" and the other saying "this is still in progress" ?

IMHO the idea of having a recommendation is out-dated, and I would 
encourage (and have encouraged at the highest levels) that the W3C abandon 
this model. However, in the meantime, it turns out that the W3C and the 
WHATWG are working on subtly different documents: the WHATWG draft is a 
superset of the W3C one. The W3C one represents the "HTML5" version of the 
language, while the WHATWG draft has a number of additional features 
beyond that. The features that the W3C is working on are generally more 
stable than the features that aren't present in the W3C version.

> If the continually-maintained model is the one currently chosen, does it 
> really make sense to call the specification HTML5? Shouldn't it be HTML?

Yes. We did actually make that change at one point, but for advocacy 
reasons we continue to have "HTML5" in the name, because that's what 
today's buzzword is.

> How can a HTML validator be written ? Should it be 
> continually-maintained as well, making correct document incorrect and 
> vice-versa depending on the validation day ?

Yes, just like browsers are continually maintained.

> I guess that the changes between HTML4.01 and HTML5 will be 
> continually-maintained as well ?

I don't think the list of differences from HTML4 will become less and less 
interesting as people become more familiar with newer HTML features.

> >> What will this doctype be since it cannot be <!DOCTYPE HTML>?
> >
> > It can be that. HTML is backwards-compatible, meaning that an 
> > implementation of the spec in 2020 will handle content written to the 
> > spec in 2010 correctly.
> Even if I agree on this goal, I think that this is a very ambitious 
> statement. From a formal point of view, how can you prove that a change 
> that you make on a spec is backward-compatible with *any* content 
> written following the 2010 spec?

We can't prove it, but we've never needed versioning for previous versions 
of HTML, and there's massive pressure to ensure we continue to not use 
versioning (the few experiments with versioning -- quirks mode and XHTML 
-- have been found to be rather disappointing, to put it mildly).

A number of other languages don't have versioning, for example CSS, C++.

> I have another concern about educational material. If I want to write 
> materials on HTML5 now. You seem to guarantee that if I do it right, the 
> content that people would write based on thess materials will be 
> correctly interpreted which is good. However, no one can tell how 
> up-to-date the informations on that material will be a century later 
> since there is no real trace of the differences during one point in time 
> and another. Or is there ?

I don't understand the question.

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

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