HTML5 Specs W3C

The “WhatWG’s Mine is Mine” Design Principle kerfuffle

I’m not part of the HTML WG, but still follow along. Enough to see that one of the big ongoing debates lately is about the HTML WG’s Design Principles draft document. There are too many threads to link, but I would suggest the following as good places to start:

I think some people, i.e. Laura and Larry, expect the Design Principles to be used as rules, rather than as means of explaining

My own opinion of the document, and the discussion surrounding the document, is that the HTML WG Design Principles document is imprecise, vague, and vulnerable to use by self-justifying entities—OK, if you just want a fuzzy feel-good document that looks good in the press, but not something you want to see from a formal W3C Note, which is what the Design Principles wants to be…when it grows up. Definitely not something you want to see used to enforce, or justify, design decisions.

There have been numerous objections to the Design Principles document, in the past and in the current debate, not all of which have been addressed. In my opinion, though, what’s more important is that provisions in the HTML WG Design document have been used to shoot down discussion and debate about namespace support in HTML, support for RDFa, and the introduction of the microdata section:

But I don’t want RDFa to hog all of the focus. Other groups and interests have also been gently schooled in the HTML Design Principles:

So, what do we know about the Design Principles? Ian Hickson in the HTML WG mailing list:

I think the text in the Introduction of the editor’s draft of the HTML Design Principles as of rev 1.26 is quite accurate, and that the rest of the text in that document meets the goals set out in the introduction admirably. I think that it is ridiculous to think that language design can ever be based on strict objective rules, and I do not think that the design guidelines claim that this is what is attempted (indeed quite the opposite). In fact, that’s what the term “design principles” means.

Thank you for that clarification, Ian. Oh, Henri, about that DOM Consistency principle you frequently mention…