[whatwg] Proposal: Change HTML spec to allow any arbitrary value for the <meta> "name" attribute

Alexandre Morgaut Alexandre.Morgaut at 4d.com
Wed Jun 12 07:29:01 PDT 2013

Regarding meta and "data-", when designing the Wakanda Framework, we have been using both, and I must say I'd love to remove most of the "data-" attributes in favor of standard attributes (like "aria-" ones) or class names.

The potential problem letting people create any meta name without declaring them is potential conflict
JS Framework are now using a global object as namespace to prevent collisions, Dublin Core proposed to do the same for meta tags

When using the <meta> approach we used the "WAF" namespace based on what was doing Dublin Core with "DC" and "DCTERMS" namespaces


They introduced this very interesting schema  link tag:

<link rel="schema.{prefix}" href="namespaceURI">


<link rel="schema.DC" href="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" />
<link rel="schema.DCTERMS" href="http://purl.org/dc/terms/" />

Unfortunately, to be HTML5 compliant Dublin Core had to list its full semantic in the wiki:
You can see by yourself the result...
This page already start to be large with twitter, globrix, msapplication, og (open graph) namespaces, so I'm a bit worried on how it will looks like in few years if any company add its own set.

The <link> tag also impose "rel" attribute values to be either included in HTML5 specification or in a Wiki:
- http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/links.html#other-link-types
- http://microformats.org/wiki/existing-rel-values#HTML5_link_type_extensions

The "schema.{prefix}" rel value is unfortunately not approved yet:

On 4 juin 2013, at 06:42, Michael[tm] Smith wrote:

> Feel free to ignore this proposal is you don't care much about document-
> conformance requirements and validator/conformance-checker stuff. On the
> other hand if you care about it and have some feedback to add, please do
> weigh in if you have any feedback to add.
> I also filed a bug for this, so feel free to respond there instead if you
> prefer -
>  https://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=22257
> The context of the proposal is the following language in the HTML spec:
>  "Conformance checkers must use the information given on the WHATWG Wiki
>  MetaExtensions page to establish if a value is allowed or not: values
>  defined in this specification or marked as "proposed" or "ratified" must
>  be accepted, whereas values marked as "discontinued" or not listed in
>  either this specification or on the aforementioned page must be rejected
>  as invalid."
>  http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/semantics.html#other-metadata-names
> I propose we remove that language from the spec; specifically:
>  1. Change the spec to allow the <meta> "name" attribute to have any
>  arbitrary value that a Web author would like to use.
>  2. Remove any spec requirement on conformance checkers to check meta at name
>  values.
>  3. Mark the WHATWG Wiki MetaExtensions page as obsolete (or whatever), as
>  it will no longer be useful/needed if the spec is changed to allow
>  arbitrary meta at name values.
> Speaking from my perspective as a contributor to development of a
> conformance checker: In practice, we receive a lot of comments and bug
> reports from confused/frustrated users who are trying to use values for
> meta at name that are not registered. And as far as the strategy of trying to
> use the spec and Wiki page as a means to educate them about trying to
> taking the time to register meta at name values and only use registered values
> and standard values (those listed in the spec), well, that strategy is not
> working well. They just want the validator to shut up.
> I don't think much real harm would be caused in practice if we dropped the
> requirement to only use standard/registered values and instead went back to
> allowing documents to contain arbitrary meta at name values.
> And again speaking specifically from my perspective a contributor to
> development of a conformance checker, I think in practice more user time is
> wasted by the existence of the current spec prohibition on unregistered/
> non-standard meta at name values than would be wasted by allowing arbitrary
> values.
>  --Mike
> --
> Michael[tm] Smith http://people.w3.org/mike

Alexandre Morgaut
Wakanda Community Manager

60, rue d'Alsace
92110 Clichy

Standard : +33 1 40 87 92 00
Email :    Alexandre.Morgaut at 4d.com
Web :      www.4D.com

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