XHTML 1.0 returned to HTML WG

Paul Prescod paul at prescod.net
Fri Nov 5 22:41:10 GMT 1999

Don Park wrote:
> I agree with you entirely.  What we disgree on whether the spec should
> be broken up into two for sake of expediency.  The three line spec
> in question simply assigns a namespace for HTML and settles the
> case-sensitivity issue.  

To what end? With no specification for how to mix HTML into other
namespaces there will be no interoperability. Without interoperability
what's the point of a spec?

> We can use that three line spec now to move
> forward while the grammar spec is being worked on.  

Move forward how? People have been mixing HTML elements into other
doctypes for at least five years now. We've achieved little economy of
scale in doing that because recognizing a paragraph with some
proprietary junk mixed in, in the middle of a proprietary document type
is not that useful. That's why I don't understand Tim and David's
excitement about the "power" of mixing HTML into things. Mixing HTML
into things is not rocket science. Doing sophisticated things in a
generic way, with generic software, with mixed in HTML IS rocket
science. But it requires a real spec for mixable HTML, not a paragraph.

> Until the grammar
> spec is finished, we have only common sense to guide us when designing
> HTMLish XML documents.

The same common sense we've had for many years. The same HTMLish
non-HTML documents we've had for many years. What does a namespace
change? It just allows us to pretend we've got interoperability when we
do not.

> More like peer-directed violence.  All the boys learn to say
> "Girls! Yuck!" from watching other boys.  I don't think there will be
> much vendor-directed violence nor abuse of common sense now when there
> are active groups like XML-DEV waiting to jump in and scream, "You made
> a Boo-Boo!"  <g>

Who's to say its a boo boo if there's no spec? Titles in the middle of a
document might make perfect sense in meta-X-HTML. Tables in meta-X-HTML
might have <title>s.

That's just the point: we can't apply sociological pressure without a
constitution to refer to. We can hardly say: "That's different than
HTML" because the whole point of the namespace is to allow HTML element
types to be used in not-HTML.

Let me ask you another question about your two-stage plan. So in version
1 we deploy hundred of HTML-ish documents using the same case
conventions (!) and namespace but totally open content models. Then
later we deploy the grammar. What do we do about the installed base of
grammar non-conformant data? Doesn't this sound familiar???

 Paul Prescod

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