[whatwg] HTML5 and different versions of the document

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon Jan 11 15:58:32 PST 2010

On Mon, 11 Jan 2010, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> With the change to an unversioned development model, we now have a 
> number of HTML5-related specs with different names and versions. In 
> particular, the HTML5 spec link on the whatwg.org front page links to 
> <http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/>, which 
> used to be called "WHATWG HTML" but now is called "HTML5 (including next 
> generation additions still in development)".
> In my opinion, it would be helpful if the WHATWG had a document called 
> HTML5 that largely matched the W3C copy in scope and content, and a 
> separate document that included whatever future additions and extensions 
> we care to add.

The problem is that the W3C copy doesn't include everything that is HTML5. 
For example, it excludes Microdata, which is an integral part of HTML5. So 
it's not clear exactly what to generate -- should I make WHATWG copies of 
every W3C draft that comes from the WHATWG source document? That would 
double the time it takes to check things in (which already takes a long 
time), for specs which nobody is ever going to need.

> Having a matching document in WHATWG space would be helpful for a couple 
> of reasons:
> - Reduces potential for confusion about what HTML5 is.

The best way to do that would be for the W3C HTML WG to not split HTML5 
into multiple specs. Then it would be easy to have and maintain parallel 
copies -- indeed we did have a parallel copy before the recent splits.

> - Makes clear what parts of the WHATWG document are also protected (via 
> the W3C copy) by the W3C Patent Policy.

Everything in the WHATWG drafts has a corresponding W3C draft.

> - Because the WHATWG copy is currently licensed under much more liberal terms
> than the W3C copy, it would be helpful to have a matching copy in WHATWG space
> to use as a basis for excerpts in conformance checkers, implementations,
> third-party reference materials and the like.

The complete.html file includes all that text under the WHATWG license.

> Logically speaking, it probably makes more sense for the "current-work" 
> URL to point to the latest and greatest unversioned copy, but on the 
> other hand many people already think of this URL as pointing to HTML5. 
> The HTML5 link on the front page should, I think, point to something 
> that actually contains HTML5, with a separate "future development" link.

HTML5 is yesterday's news. I'm fine with using the buzzword if people feel 
that is helpful, but I disagree that we would want people looking at the 
last generation of specs. Right now, there's very little new stuff, but it 
seems highly likely that we will get lots of new features going forward, 
and it would be silly to push them off into a corner.

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

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