Extensibility and markup, again and again

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Proving that the issues with extensibility will never go away until faced, and resolved:

  • Anne van Kesteren: Concerns that HTML5 does not have distributed extensibility. That is, namespaces. What people seem to want is to extend the browser with hundreds of markup languages. (How this keeps things simple to answer was not something I saw addressed.) You need something else than namespaces for that though, to start with. Also, what is wrong with using XML for this?
  • Sam Ruby: It seems that the distributed extensibility discussion won’t go away like apparently some would hope it would […] It occurs to me that Anne may be intentionally being thick here. what is wrong with using XML for this? Come on. I can answer that with two words: IE, and Postel. Next question?
  • Dave Orchard: While I agree with Sam’s assertion that misdirection is going on and IE8 is crucial, I think the real issue is that the anti-distributed extensibility crowd want control over all the languages that could be added into HTML. There’s no changing XML that would make them happy. I think the goal is that the HTML WG becomes the gatekeeper over any new languages that get added into the browser. We’ve seen it with aria-, SVG, MathML. Note that IE8 has a form of namespaces, and Chris Wilson was a supporter of distributed extensibility on the HTML WG list.

I’m not sure we need another form of namespaces. What we need is to address the concept of extensibility, without looking at the mechanics. Is extensibility good? Years ago, I would have been puzzled at even asking this question. Of course extensibility is good. Now I’m not sure that this opinion is shared by one and all. So, perhaps we should ask, Is extensibility bad? From the answers, we might find out where the problems exist, and maybe generate a dialog that results in solutions.

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