It’s just data

Half Full

Roy Fielding: When did you stop beating your wife, Ian?

The apparent catalyst for this exchange was a document put out by Mike Smith.

Clearly there are areas of disagreement.  Not just between Roy and Ian, but between many of the participants in the working group.  Many are focusing on such details as to what should be normative, and how such specifications should be arranged.  My opinion is that this discussion is premature and can’t be settled without first establishing a common understanding of the context and goals of the effort.

Meanwhile, it is important to note the Mike’s document does not attempt to be inconsistent with the ongoing HTML5 work, it merely attempts to capture a subset of this information, and present it from a different perspective.

The bigger problem is that HTML5 will be finished in 2022.  Or in 2010.

The first thing that needs to be recognized is that the WHATWG’s goals (are these documented?) won’t be met in 2010.  The second thing is that neither will the W3C’s.

There are many ways to address this.  One that I would not be in favor of is adjusting the W3C’s date significantly.

IMHO, what’s needed is a chair that will take consensus whenever he (or she) can find it, and graciously accept defeat when that’s not possible.  Again, not all of the goals are achievable by 2010.  Whether they ever could have been or not is irrelevant, at this point it clearly is not the case.

And it is worth repeating that the intent is that Mike’s document and Ian’s document aren’t in conflict.  One way to resolve any apparent conflicts is to relabel the document which is intended to be later.  Picking some dates out of the air, how about HTML5=2010; HTML6=2013; HTML7=2016; HTML8=2019; and HTML9=2022?  Meanwhile...

Question: Do we need to resolve whether ping is in HTML9?
Answer: Not today.
Question: Do we need to resolve whether the DOM bindings are in HTML9 or are in a separate document?
Answer: Not today.

I could go on, but the basic point is that if HTML5 were redefined to be the set of things over which we can come to rough consensus over the next 18 months or so, it would in all likelihood be (a) delivered on time, (b) be significantly smaller than the current working draft, and (c) as consistent as we collectively know how to make it with the full “2022” vision.

Repeat that process ever three or so years, and I’m confident that we will eventually converge on full consensus.  Possibly even by 2022.