[whatwg] Technical Parity with W3C HTML Spec

Michael A. Puls II shadow2531 at gmail.com
Fri Jun 25 11:33:22 PDT 2010

On Fri, 25 Jun 2010 06:13:13 -0400, Doug Schepers <doug at schepers.cc> wrote:

> Hi, WHATWG folks-
> As you are probably aware, some differences have arisen between the W3C  
> draft of the HTML5 spec and the larger WHATWG version.  In my opinion,  
> the specific technical details of any given feature (which, let's be  
> fair, are often more-or-less arbitrary) is of lesser importance than  
> there being a single definitive version that is consistent between both  
> organizations.  The whole point of an open technical standard is to  
> promote interoperability between implementations, and having conflicting  
> or ambiguous specs will not result in that goal.
> I'm not trying to be political about this, but since W3C and WHATWG are  
> meant to be collaborating, there has to be a certain amount of of  
> flexibility from both sides, for the good of the standard itself, and  
> for readers of the spec.
> There are a few possible ways to handle this:
> 1) W3C could match the WHATWG version in all details, with all decisions  
> made by WHATWG

That sounds great to me. I'm fine with the whatwg process, Ian's decisions  
based on our feedback and the whatwg version of the spec (it's the one I  
reference and give feedback on). I don't even look at the w3c version, so  
I don't know how much different it is or why it's different or even how it  
could be better than the whatwg spec. (Not only that, but the spec isn't  
easy enough for me to find at http://www.w3.org/ like it is on whatwg.org,  
but that's a minor front page navigation issue at w3c.org).

I do follow public-html, but my message list is full of a bunch of  
messages with subjects like "isssue N" or "change proposal n" or "bug n -  
part of the subject ...", which don't make any sense until I drift off to  
the bts and have disconnected discussions. At some point, almost all  
technical discussions were shifted to a bug tracking system, which is just  
too annoying, so I don't know what's going on anymore and I don't see any  
technical discussions in the list like there used to be. Yes, the spec is  
more mature now, but judging by all the "issue n" messages etc. it looks  
like lots of technical discussion is happening elsewhere, away from the  

Here on whatwg, things happen on the list and I can tell what's going on  
better and therefore trust the whatwg.org spec way more. All public-html  
is lately is working/arguing on process, procedure and what looks like (to  
me at least), bullying the editor. Before the beginning of last year,  
things were much more whatwg-like on public-html, which was awesome.

In addition, my understanding of the W3C helping out with HTML5 was to  
make it seem more official to the general public and provide some patent  
stuff to ease adoption. I still consider the whatwg the authority here, if  
there has to be one. But, it's not like public-html is secondary or  
anything. Ian takes all feedback into account.

So, my stance is that the whatwg has a better process and therefore a  
potential for a better version of the spec, and I think the w3c version  
should be as good. I also don't have a problem with the whatwg "complete"  
version having some future things the w3c version supposedly doesn't and  
I'm not fond of the nitpicking going on about the text describing the  
differences between the specs.


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