Specs Web

Google’s Ta Da moments

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Henri Bergius wrote a piece on Google’s seeming desire to replace all web components, except HTML. Among the “new” technologies:

  • SPDY to replace HTTP
  • and Microdata to replace a decade’s worth of semantic work with RDF and microformats
  • WebP, a new image format
  • WebM, a new video format
  • And now Dart, to replace JavaScript

However, I wouldn’t leave HTML out. The only editor for HTML5 is a Google employee, Ian Hickson, who has been working with other folks, including another Google employee, to break pieces off the HTML5 specification, take them to WHATWG space, and completely re-write them in isolation. Then, when the pieces are re-written, the editors don’t seem want to bring them back to the W3C. (Or they have to ask Google Legal whether they can do so, completely ignoring the fact that as a W3C member, Google pledged to work with others.)

I’ve been battling this effort with the Editing API and just recently, the same thing happened with the section on dynamic markup insertion.

It’s not that people aren’t happy about these non-HTML components being pulled out of the HTML5 specification, but rather than work with the members of the HTML WG and the W3C, Google has been encouraging people to act unilaterally, aided and abetted by the HTML5 editor.

What’s ironic is that the concepts behind the Editing API and the dynamic markup insertion sections, which includes innerHTML among other things, actually originated with Microsoft. I’ve been waiting for Microsoft to go, “Hold on partner!” Apple already has. (And again).

Google has become all that is arrogant conceit. It believes it can do anything better than anyone else. It has dropped any pretense of seemingly wanting to work with others, and pretends its work is open, as long as it “gives” it all away when it’s finished.

The internet and the web were created so that people could connect; that those who were separated physically could still work together. The roots of the web are based in openness and cooperation, not unilateral decisions that demonstrate little tolerance and no empathy. I’d rather use an imperfect technology created by a team of varied and interested people, then a “perfect” work created in isolation and dumped on the world in some grand “Ta Da!” moment.

An imperfect technology can be perfected, but you can’t fix hubris.


This page isn’t valid…and who cares

I covered my recent experiments in using SVG in HTML in SVG in HTML. I linked two different example pages with SVG inline in HTML: one dependent on HTML5 parsing (Firefox nightly), the other using the library, SVGWeb.

There’s another difference between the two examples other than just their implementation. The first example, dependent on a browser parsing the page as HTML5, doesn’t validate. The example using SVGWeb, does. Yet, both pages display correctly, as long as you use an HTML5 enabled browser for the first. The odder thing is, neither page is “invalid”.

The HTML markup is fine for both, as is the SVG used. However, the Validator doesn’t like inline SVG at this time, because, we’re told, no browser implements SVG inline in HTML, yet. The SVGWeb example validates because the SVG is contained in a script block. The validation problems with the first example go beyond embedding the SVG element directly in the web page, though. The example also incorporates a metadata element in the SVG that contains RDF/XML.

Embedding RDF/XML into the metadata element is perfectly valid with SVG, and in fact, quite common when people attach Creative Commons licenses to their work. The HTML5 Validator, though, doesn’t really know what to do with this RDF/XML. Why? Because RDF/XML uses namespaced elements, and namespaced elements are taboo in HTML. Yet, SVG is acceptable in HTML5.

Herein we discover the paradox that is HTML5: XML allowed in HTML, but parsed as HTML; extensible namespaced elements that are valid in SVG/XML, becoming invalid when embedded in the non-extensible environment that is HTML5. HTML5 as XHTML likes namespaces. HTML5 as HTML does not like namespaces. But HTML5, as both XHTML and HTML likes SVG, and SVG likes namespaces.

Pictorially, the logic of this looks about as follows (which would not be valid if inserted into an HTML5 HTML document):


Oh, what is a web designer/developer to do, who just wants to use a little SVG here and there? Enter, stage left, the HTML5 Doctor.

Recently the HTML5 Doctor was asked about attributes and elements from HTML4 that are now obsolete but conforming (or not) in HTML5. Won’t adding a HTML5 DOCTYPE while still using these elements cause the pages to be invalid?

The Doctor’s answer:

While validation is undoubtedly important for your markup and your CSS, in my opinion it isn’t crucial to a site. Allow me to explain, we recently received a couple of emails pointing out that this site doesn’t validate. While there were some errors that have now been corrected, a primary reason why is the use of ARIA roles in the markup. These attributes currently aren’t allowed in the current specification, however there is work underway to make this happen.

To illustrate this point let’s look at Google, the search giant. If you look at the source on Google’s search pages you’ll see they use the HTML 5 doctype.

<!DOCTYPE html>

However, those pages don’t validate because they use the font and center elements amongst others things that we already know have been removed from the specification. Does this mean that users stop visiting Google? No.

Remember too that the specification is yet to be finalised and may still be changed (thus breaking you’re perfectly valid docments), in partnership with this changes to the specification may not immediately take be implemented in the validators. We also need to bear in mind that HTML 5 takes a “pave the cowpaths” approach to development, meaning that the Hixie, et al will look at what authors already do and improve upon it.

The days of validation being an end all, be all, are effectively over with HTML5. By obsoleting (not deprecating) elements that were perfectly valid in HTML4; by not providing an extensibility path within HTML in HTML5, especially considering that new elements will arise over time—not to mention, the inclusion of perfectly legitimate namespaces elements in SVG— all, combined make “validation” a goal, but not an end when it comes to the web pages of the future. We’re more likely to define a set of supported browsers and user agents and worry more about the pages working with these, then be concerned about whether the pages validate in

So, my one web page with the inline SVG works with the Firefox nightly, with HTML5 parsing enabled. It isn’t valid…but who cares?


Rabbit Ridge: Same Old Bad Tricks


It’s been some time since we checked into our first Kennel Campaign kennel, Rabbit Ridge. Too long, it seems.

An August 4th inspection in the USDA APHIS database provides the following rather alarming information (complete inspection report):

There is a hutch style enclosure on the east side of the facility that did not have sufficient shade provided during the day light hours. The location of the enclosure is such that during the late afternoon and early evening hours there is no shade provided for the dog. Dogs that do not have sufficient shade could suffer from heat stress. Dogs must be provided with sufficient shade during the daylight hours for their health and well being at all times.
Licensee fixed at time of inspection.
This is a repeat non compliant item.

This is a focused inspection specifically addressing the Direct non compliant items related to severe heat conditions found during inspections on 2 Aug 2011.
2.40.b 2 – Adequate Veterinary Care – All of the puppies identified during the inspections appear normal. The 15 puppies identified during the focused inspection on 2 Aug 2011 were examined by a veterinarian.

3.2 a – Heating, cooling, and temperature – Two window unit air conditioners were added to the facility for cooling. The temperature at the time of inspection was 83.2 degrees F inside the facility.

3.3 a – Heating, cooling, and temperature – A window unit air condition was added to the facility for cooling. The temperature at the time of inspection was 81.6 degrees F inside of the facility.

Unfortunately, the USDA is not providing a copy of the August 2nd inspection in the APHIS database. I’ve since submitted a FOIA request for this inspection, as well as a Sunshine Law request to the Missouri Department of Agriculture for any recent inspections.

What this inspection does tell us is that there were one or more buildings at Rabbit Ridge that had missing or inadequate cooling on August 2nd. If you’re not familiar with what our weather has been like this summer, on August 2nd, Columbia, Missouri set a record high of 108 degrees F that day. The archived weather forecast for Edina on that day is:

Tue, Aug 2

Day… Very hot and humid. Mostly sunny. High around 101. Highest heat index readings of around 115 in the afternoon. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Overnight: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low in the mid 70s. Highest heat index readings of around 111 early in the evening. Southwest wind around 10 mph in the evening becoming light after midnight.

Anyone with any decency would know that in weather like this, you have to provide additional cooling for dogs. You either have to bring them into your home or provide some form of air conditioning. At a minimum, you have to provide shade.

It doesn’t matter that Schrage “fixes” things when he gets busted for violations of MDA and USDA animal welfare laws. What does matter is that Schrage’s history is a pattern of gross animal neglect, corrected only when ordered to do so by USDA or MDA inspectors.

August 2nd…this followed one of the hottest months of July on record. How much did the dogs suffer at Rabbit Ridge before the USDA inspection that forced Schrage to put in window air conditioners? How much did that dog who didn’t have shade suffer?

How many dogs died from heat that we don’t even know about?

Attorney General Koster has been spending considerable time bragging about how things are better for the dogs in Missouri since the new law was put in place to override Proposition B. He’s even created a little web page to this effect. So let’s ask him about Donald Schrage and Rabbit Ridge, and the man’s continuous and re-occurring violations. Let’s ask Koster a question: at what point do we stop holding Schrage’s hand; stop doing inspections every few months because that’s the only way to ensure the animals are given minimal care?

Let’s ask Director Jon Hagler of the Missouri Department of Agriculture how much does it cost the state of Missouri to keep Schrage in business? How many times do we have to re-inspect this man because he always, always has new violations? Consistently, year after year, violation after violation?

And where was the MDA when these dogs were suffering in July?

Bob Baker of MAAL has been talking about how much better things are now with the new Missouri “solution”. Are things better? Because I don’t see that things are better. Busting exactly one breeder a month is not “better”.

Dogs without protection from heat in one of the hottest Missouri summers in record is not “better”.

As soon as I get the requested inspections, I’ll post an update.


APHIS loaded another inspection, but this one is dated August 15th, and is a focused inspection.

Among the problems:

A male Cocker Spaniel with yellow discharge covering both eyes.

A female American Eskimo with dark brown discharge coming from her vulva.

A male Shih Tzu with skin lesions, scabs, and sores.

Two female American Eskimo dogs put in with two larger American Eskimo dogs suffered from bite wounds. “They’ve been fighting since I put them back”, was Schrage’s comment.

These are all repeat violations. Repeat violations.

There were several dogs from the August 2nd inspection, which I still can’t access, that were treated by the vet. Several more not, though.

A male Shih Tzu and a Cocker Spaniel were examined by the vet, and then euthanized. That’s two dogs we couldn’t save with the so-called “Missouri Solution”.

What does it take to close this hell hole down? A news conference?