HTML5 Specs W3C

HTML5 Issue decisions

I did hear back from HTML5 co-chairs on my issues, and one of the decisions, on Issue 93, was just published.

No surprises, the decision was to keep the element. I’ll update this post with the status of the other issues as the decisions are published.

Issue 93:

HTML5 Specs W3C

Next steps

Sam Ruby’s take on the CNet HTML5 article:

Balanced piece that neither sweeps under the rug nor sensationalizes the differences that we are working through.

To me, this is the same as saying, “Nothing to see here folks. Just be sure to step over the dead body on your way out.”

I still have not had resolution on several issues, and have not yet received a response from the W3C HTML WG co-chairs when I asked for a status of when I may expect resolution.

I believe most of my change proposals will not be successful, except perhaps Issue 89, on removing the idioms section, and Issue 100, on removing srcdoc: the former easily has no place in a HTML specification; the latter is just plain ugly as sin. Whatever the decision on any of these items, though, I won’t be formally objecting to the results. The most polite way I can express my feelings about the W3C at this moment is that it isn’t my happy place.

I also believe that the work on HTML5 will continue, but that the W3C will, more or less, allow Ian to do what he wants. I think there will continue to be two documents, and neither will be the same. I think these battles will happen, again and again, and there will never be a true resolution. I also think that the concept of a HTML standard has now been irreparably harmed— being redefined into being whatever the dominant browser companies want, regardless of other community interests.

However, I would love to be proven wrong. All across the board.

As for me, I’m focusing on my first self-published book, which is about HTML5. Whatever happens with the HTML5 spec, all I can do now is try to help folks make the best of it.

HTML5 Specs W3C

On being an HTML5 deletionist

When last I posted, I was confident I would be finished with my change proposals for the HTML5 by now. Little did I suspect at how strong a reaction my proposals would have, or how emotional the discussions would become. Some of the responses were humorous, such as when I was called a “deletionist”, of all things. Most of the responses, though, were not pleasant.

Ian Hickson, the HTML5 editor, framed his replies rejecting my changes in terms of accessibility and that’s how I responded. As was noted by the wise woman in the group, Laura Carlson, the use of accessibility in this regard was likely a red herring. However, when you write a change proposal, all you can do is respond to the presented arguments. Now, there have been additional arguments, and I’m adjusting my response accordingly.

I was disappointed in how my change proposals were treated. I didn’t expect the HTML5 WG co-chairs to encourage people to respond with one counter-proposal for several of my change proposals. Though each of the impacted proposals was about removing an element from the HTML5 spec, each element is unique. Or at least, I though they were unique. The response leads me to wonder: if people respond with a blanket statement about all elements, how unique are they, really? And how useful?

The Accessibility TF responded in support of keeping the elements, but again, grouped all the elements together in the group response. This following from the groups having marked the original bugs as outside of the group’s interest. That this response was inconsistent didn’t seem to matter—built-in elements are better for accessibility, regardless of the elements.

Back in the HTML WG, I have been met with a block of voices all clamoring, “We want the elements”. My first reaction when met with the fairly strong resistance was to bag my change proposals, and just let the overly large HTML5 specification be that much larger. Such a response, though, would not be honest—I genuinely believe that not only are these elements not useful, their costs exceed whatever perceived benefit they may bring.

Now, a few months later, I’m making final edits to my change proposals in response to the blanket counter-proposal and the one paragraph response from the Accessibility TF. You can read my work for the first change proposal I’m editing, related to deleting the details and summary elements. I’ll post my work in progress for the other change proposals as I finish.

Yours truly,

the Deletionist


Change proposal for HTML5 dt/dd

Just posted an email to the HTML5 working group with my Change Proposal for dt/dd. This is in response to the dt/dd elements being redefined to be used with figure and details, as well as the dl element.

I have a couple of other bug reports to file based on this work, as well as other items. I hope to detail these in RealTech after I take a mental break.

Social Media Specs W3C

HTML5 status and when not to tweet

I’m in the process of rolling out some change proposals and bug reports for HTML5. I had volunteered to help with reviewing MathML during Last Call, and submitting comments for the HTML WG. Unfortunately, the process did not go smoothly.

In the meantime, this week was the W3C’s TPAC meeting, where all the boys and girls from all the W3C working groups get together for a face to face. Interesting stuff happened, including the TAG (TAG is the overall W3C architecture group) recommendation that HTML WG split Microdata from HTML5. We’ll see where that goes.

Twitter was very useful for those of us who were not at TAG. Those at TAG pointed out the IRC channels associated with each meeting, and where links to reports and presentations could be found. It was an example of good Twitter use.

What was not an example of good Twitter use last week were the “live” Twitter messages that came from a soldier in a hospital within Fort Hood during the recent tragic events. The inappropriate and less than helpful use of Twitter was detailed in an exceptionally good post at Techcrunch, written by Paul Carr.

In the writing, Paul makes the point that rather than help, or at least get out of the way, during a crises, we grab our cellphones and become mini-journalists—macabrely excited about being “live” at the event. We post photos of people hurt in accidents, or shot by a crazy man, regardless of who we might harm, including family members or the victims themselves. We exaggerate the event until one gunman becomes three, and an act of insanity becomes one of terrorism.

More importantly, we jam necessary cellphone lines in order to get that last tweet out, cause confusion, and aid and abet chaos.

Even outside a crises, we don’t seem to know when to turn off the spigot. How many of us woke up this morning to be met with the ultimate of absurdities: hundreds of messages from folks “live tweeting” a Congressional vote. My god, it’s just a bloody vote. There is nothing exciting about a vote until the vote is finished and the tabulation made.

Frankly, I would rather hear what people had for breakfast.

Anyway, more on HTML5 later, and do read Paul Carr’s writing.

update Suw Charman-Anderson has a detailed rebuttal. She has some good points, especially about the Iranians feeling reassured that people were listening.

What she misses, though, is the past tense: people were listening. People listened during the Iranian election, dyed their avatars green, and filled Twitter trends with the topic. And then…it all just went away. And that’s the point I think that Paul was making: social media’s ability to influence events is directly proportional to the attention of the participants, and the participants are being subjected to a continuous barrage of new events, and new outrages.

The green avatars are gone. Do the Iranian people still feel assured that people are listening?