[whatwg] scrdoc and session history don't play along in the spec

Boris Zbarsky bzbarsky at MIT.EDU
Fri Jul 12 13:09:32 PDT 2013

On 7/12/13 3:39 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:
 > That wasn't the intent. I've tried to clarify it.

Hmm.  It might help to make it clearer in 
that "new resource" does not mean "URL".  Maybe have some explicit thing 
that represents the resource being navigated to (which might, for 
example, consist of a (url, srcdoc data) pair or something along those 

> You know, it's disheartening to work on something and have you continually
> insult it like this. Please stick to positive feedback, which you are
> quite good at providing, and avoid the non-constructive negative commentary.

I'm sorry, this certainly wasn't meant to be an insult!  I understand 
the problems involved in trying to specify this, starting with the fact 
that the code that does navigation in browsers is more or less uniformly 

That said, I've had feedback from multiple engineers who were trying to 
understand this section of the spec because they wanted to change 
something in Gecko and just gave up because they couldn't figure out 
where to even start start reading it and any time they thought they 
understood it they discovered more "come from" type things that meant 
their understanding was incorrect.

One fundamental problem is that a typical engineer working on something 
like about:srcdoc doesn't read the entire navigation part spec from the 
top down.  And if they try to, they get lost partway through.  Engineers 
consistently end up with bugs in their implementations when they try to 
follow this part of the spec.  It doesn't help that navigation as 
actually implemented in at least Gecko looks nothing like the setup in 
the spec (e.g. the fact that history traversal in the spec reenters 
itself has no analogue in Gecko), and mapping between two different 
navigation models is ... very hard.

I realize this is still non-constructive.  Believe me, if I had 
constructive suggestions for how to make this part of the spec more 
understandable I would be bringing them up!  I keep trying to figure out 
a better way to organize this stuff and failing.  Maybe it's just a lost 
cause because of all the complexity.  :(


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