[whatwg] Administrivia: Update on the relationship between the WHATWG HTML living standard and the W3C HTML5 specification

Steve Faulkner faulkner.steve at gmail.com
Fri Jul 20 05:38:26 PDT 2012

Hi Hixie,

I believe you have made some spurious claims, one of them being;

"The WHATWG effort is focused on developing the
canonical description of HTML and related technologies"

The claim that HTML the living standard is canonical appears to imply that
the requirements and advice contained within HTML the living standard is
more correct than what is in the HTML5 specification.
I do not consider this to be wholly that case, in particular in regards to
author level conformance requirements and advice, where the HTML standard
has no special claim to authority, it is not the domain of browser vendors
to decide what is good authoring practise and any authoring requirements
that go beyond implementation realities.

The HTML living standard is not a canonical description of HTML, if it was
there would be no need for the existence of specifications such as
HTML to Platform Accessibility APIs Implementation
this document is in existence and is being developed because neither the
HTML5 specification nor the HTML living standard contains anything bearing
a resemblance of what could be considered and adequate description of how
user agents can implement accessibility support for HTML features in an
interoperable way.

Neither HTML5 in its current form or HTML the living standard can claim to
be a canonical description of author conformance requirements for the
provision of text alternatives, as there is another document in existence
also published by the W3C that provides normative requirements for the

The HTML standard contradicts the HTML5 specification (or vice versa) on a
number of author conformance requirements and advisory techniques,
including use of tables, use of ARIA and use of the title attribute.

In respect to those author related requirements mentioned above the HTML5
specification can currently claim to be contain a more accurate set of
requirements and advice, that takes into account current implementation
realities, thus providing author with more practical advice and thus end
users with a better experience.

All in all I do not agree with your claim of  the HTML living standard
being canonical. It is unfortunately the case that we now have at least 2
specifications; HTML5 and the living standard neither of which can claim to
be canonical description of HTML for stakeholders other than browser

with regards

Steve Faulkner
Technical Director - TPG

www.paciellogroup.com | www.HTML5accessibility.com |
HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives -
Web Accessibility Toolbar - www.paciellogroup.com/resources/wat-ie-about.html

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