Death to extensibility

In an interview at Tech Republic, HTML5 Editor Ian Hickson stated:

The second big controversy in recent history was over extensibility. There have been some requests to allow people to extend HTML without speaking to the committees working on HTML. We’ve provided a number of mechanisms for this (the class and rel attributes, the data-* attributes, the meta element for page-wide metadata, the script element for non-script data blobs, the embed element for plugins), but some people simply want the ability to invent their own elements and tag names. So far, we’ve managed to avoid that, and we’ll have to see if we can continue.

Yes, but we’ve still not resolved—at least, I’m not aware of any resolution—about how to incorporate MathML, RDFa, and SVG into HTML5. I can’t help thinking we’ve spent more time trying to prohibit extensibility than we would if we just provided the mechanism.

In addition, I’m frankly confused about how we’ll pull off a consistent model between HTML5, which is rigidly inflexible, and XHTML5, which is anything but. If what’s incorporated into HTML5 differs from what’s allowed in XHTML5, do we just…wing it?

The whole point of XML years ago was because of issues like this—how do we create a markup that can be extended without having to update the underlying specification/model with each new addition. Ever since, we’ve been running in horror from the Yellow Screen of Death—the negative aspect of XML we fixate on—while arguing, endlessly, about extensibility—the most beneficial aspect of XML. I can’t help thinking that we should keep the extensibility and just get rid of the Yellow Screen of Death.

However, I’m not expert in these things. I am just a humble web developer, with simple needs. One such need is I don’t want to lose what I have now.

Insects Photography

At the Gardens

I have not been a frequent visitor to the Missouri Botanical Gardens this summer. I don’t care for the crowds the Gardens attracts during the “tourist season”. Though the number of people was still a healthy size yesterday, they also reflect the more easy going nature of the “off-season regulars”.

The Gardens seem especially nice this year. Everything was healthy, lush, and the proper color, most likely due to this being the wettest year on record (to date) for St. Louis.


bee on mum

It’s too early for the Monarchs; we should be seeing them in the next couple of weeks. However, there were plenty of Cabbage Whites and Painted Ladies.

Painted Lady

The only reason I knew the name of the small, white (and very hard to photograph) Cabbage White is because of an excellent resource for butterfly identification: Butterflies and Moths of North America. You can look up your state, see what butterflies have been spotted in what county and then click through for pictures and more detailed identification information.

Returning to the Garden, the water lilies are in full bloom, which means, of course, dragonflies.

Dragonfly on water lily

dragonfly on lily

JavaScript Political Writing


The draft for Learning JavaScript, second edition, has entered production, and that’s more or less it for my tech book writing career. I don’t want to say I’ll never write another tech book, because never is a long time. However, I have no intentions of writing another tech book in the foreseeable future.

I hope to revive my moribund tech contracting/consulting career, but first I need a break from spending so much time on the computer: walk in the woods; enjoy the fall color; watch the pretty birds; see if my legs still work. I have authored and co-authored 18 books in 12 years—a fact I’ve really felt it in the last few months. I’m tired.

Tired and stressed, with the latter primarily because of the US election. I don’t think I’ve ever been this stressed about an election. I’ve also never been more desperate for my candidate (Obama) to win. No, not even when Bush was running for the office in 2000 and 2004. Frankly— and I never thought the circumstances could ever get to the point where I would say this—I’d rather have another four years of Bush/Cheney, then have four years of McCain/Palin.

I don’t want to write too much about the election, specifically because of the stress. I also agree with Dave Rogers about Sarah Palin being used to draw attention away from Obama. Continuing to write about her only aids and abets her cause, as well as adds to my already overly uptight frame of mind.

I think what I’ll do is spend some time considering the election, take a deep breath, and write once more on the topic. In the meantime, I’ll post links to what others have written, as I struggle to re-establish an essential objectivity. After all, I want to live long enough to get that universal health insurance Obama will bring us.

Speaking of which, I have been getting into some debates, mainly about universal health care over at Blogher. It would be an understatement to say how disappointed I am in the so-called “libertarian” element in the US, right now.

Politics aside, my 18th book is on its way. Go book. Live long, and prosper.