[whatwg] [blink-dev] Intent to Ship: Scroll To Text Fragment

fantasai fantasai.lists at inkedblade.net
Thu Oct 24 13:49:36 PDT 2019

On 10/9/19 8:10 PM, Nick Burris wrote:
> Summary
> Scroll To Text allows URLs to link to a piece of text in a webpage rather than 
> just linking to an existing element fragment. The motivating use cases are to 
> enable user sharing of specific content and allow deep-linking references to 
> information.

So, like, this sounds conceptually like a great feature to have for the Web.
But this

> Edge: No signals
> Firefox: No signals <https://github.com/mozilla/standards-positions/issues/194>
> Safari: No signals

makes it seem like you really haven't put much effort into figuring out where 
the other browser vendors stand on the issue. Given this is an Intent to Ship, 
I interpret not having figured out where the other vendors stand even at the 
coarse level of “excited to have spec, plan to implement”, “supportive but not 
prioritizing; will accept patches”, or “opposed to the feature in its current 
state” as not really caring what they think. You have contacts into these 
organizations; I am sure you could solicit such answers where there aren't any 
if you thought it was necessary.

Google engineers keep asserting that, no, we really care about standardization 
and moving the Web forward together with the other browser vendors. Look at 
the processes we made to help us do that! But Web standardization efforts have 
always tried to move forward on the basis of consensus. Meanwhile the attitude 
here seems to be ”There was a template for the positions of other browsers, a 
blank answer could be provided in the template, nobody reviewing it cares that 
there was a blank answer, so let's just ship the thing we (Google) want.”

If this was a blank code review in your template, I imagine you would try 
harder to get the reviewer's answer, and give a good explanation of your 
attempts and their failure if indeed you could not solicit a response, before 
asking for lgtm.

Yoav Weiss wrote:

> When it comes to venue, the current spec's processing seems to be mostly 
> monkey-patching the HTML and URL specs, indicating that WHATWG is probably 
> the right venue for this to graduate to. At the same time, landing features 
> in WHATWG specs require multi-engine commitment, and looking at Mozilla's 
> 2.5-months-old standards position issue doesn't really indicate implementer 
> commitment, or anything at all. From a practical standpoint, it's clearer 
> and easier for the spec to live as a standalone document rather than a 
> WHATWG PR, while we're waiting for multi-engine commitment.
> But, that in no means preclude collaboration. The spec is in WICG, which 
> was built specifically to enable multi-vendor collaboration when incubating 
> new ideas. I'm sure everyone would be thrilled to have your feedback directly 
> there, to make sure we get this right.

I would like to point out a couple things:

1. WICG is explicitly billing itself an incubation venue, not a 
standardization venue. At the point you're planning to ship a feature, I think 
that qualifies as beyond incubation, yes? So continuing work there at this 
point would be inappropriate.

2. If the WHATWG rules for incorporating something are too stringent to allow 
standardization in a timely manner, maybe you should consider changing them? 
It's not like Google has no say in the WHATWG process. Perhaps something like 
“two implementation commitments *or* implemented in one browser with other 
browsers at least in favor of the feature and willing to implement it at some 
point in the future even if they haven't committed to apply their own 
resources yet” could be enough for inclusion.

To paraphrase Sir Tim Berners-Lee, process is a tool to help you do good work: 
if your process is inhibiting you from doing said work, you should fix said 
process. Allowing Google to do standardization work in an appropriate 
multi-vendor standards forum, and using that process to seek positive 
consensus on its proposals prior to deciding to ship, would be better than the 
circumvention of the standardization processes *and spirit* being demonstrated 
here, I would think.


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