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The Abdication of the HTML Standard 298

Posted by Soulskill
from the caught-between-corporate-juggernauts dept.
GMGruman writes "The end of numbering for HTML versions beyond HTML5 hides two painful realities, argues Neil McAllister. One is that the HTML standards process has failed, becoming a seemingly never-ending bureaucratic maze that has encouraged the proliferation of draft implementations. That's not great, but as all the wireless draft standards have shown, it can be managed. But the bigger problem is that HTML has effectively been abandoned to four companies: Apple, Google, Opera, and Mozilla. They are deciding the actual fate of HTML, not a truly independent standards process."
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The Abdication of the HTML Standard

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  • Those Who Ship Win (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:30AM (#35031692) Journal

    But the bigger problem is that HTML has effectively been abandoned to four companies: Apple, Google, Opera, and Mozilla. They are deciding the actual fate of HTML, not a truly independent standards process.

    This reminds me of something that was promoted in a book I reviewed [slashdot.org]:

    those who ship win

    It's that simple. If this armchair talking head who wrote this article chastising the standards process were to magically code up a browser that better empowered me, a software developer, to deploy code to users that ran to my satisfaction then his standards would be realized first. And I might be tempted to use it and ask my users to use it so we can get good functionality.

    Duh.

    Back when the standards were still in flux (and still are) I was using Google Chrome to enjoy an Arcade Fire experiment [chromeexperiments.com] that used many HTML5 elements. And guess what? I started using Chrome and the implementation of their perspective of the standards gained just a planck constant more marketshare.

    This guy can sit around and complain all he wants but for better or for worse: those who ship win.

    • by Saint Stephen (19450) on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:36AM (#35031780) Homepage Journal

      Gee, that sounds like - a De Facto standard. Like MS Word .doc format! Guess evil is in the eye of the beholder.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        While I hate eldavojohn as much as anyone, I don't see anything in his post that was saying this fact is 'good' or 'evil', just that it's a fact. And honestly, he's right. If you design by independent committee, that committee needs to move at the pace of development or it will be ignored. If software companies are putting out releases faster than the committee is putting out standards, then the committee is worthless. This is ultimately the reasoning behind the move to non numbered releases, as it at l

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by eldavojohn (898314) *
          Yeah that would be the "for better or for worse" that I said in my original post.

          While I hate eldavojohn as much as anyone ...

          Seriously, why do I even bother with this site?

      • by rjstanford (69735) on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:49AM (#35031954) Homepage Journal

        Yes, yes it is.

        The difference being that the group behind the de facto standard sees high value in being consistent, predictable, and having that pseudo-standard very well documented, because without those facts nobody can create content for them to consume.

        With the .doc format, there's high value to Microsoft in obfuscating the "standard" documentation as much as possible since they both create and consume the documents.

        Big difference.

      • by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:55AM (#35032062)

        ODT is as much of a de facto standard. If you give me an ODT file that conforms to the standard but triggers bugs in OpenOffice.org, what good is it? I'm not going to spend days setting up an OOo build environment, learning whatever awful framework they use, and bisecting this bug in order to read your few paragraphs.

        The problem with .doc is not that it's a de facto standard -- all standards that are worth anything must be de facto at least as much as they are de jure -- but that it's a bad one, because it's hard for any program that doesn't share MS Word's internal data structures and algorithms to implement (because a .doc is, to first order, a memory dump of Word's data). HTML doesn't work like that, and it's hard to make it work like that if you tried.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by unwesen (241906)

        Nothing wrong with de-facto standards, if they're fully open.

        Look at e.g. the Python programming language. The CPython implementation is the de-facto standard implementation, and the language specs actually refer (or used to) to the implementation saying if in doubt, that implementation wins.

        Yet there are other, mostly compatible Python implementations out there, and nothing - not patents, nor secrets - stops you from starting a new one.

      • by gig (78408) on Friday January 28, 2011 @10:17AM (#35032428)

        It's nothing like Word get a grip.

        Apple created canvas, submitted to W3C, Mozilla submitted changes, canvas was standardized, then Apple invested significant engineerig resources into changing their canvas implementation to match the standard.

        If you want an academic standard with no real world use, XHTML 2 is available for your masturbatory needs. The Web needs a practical HTML standard that documents how you DO write HTML, not how you theoretically SHOULD write HTML.

        • Apple created canvas, submitted to W3C

          And a lot of people complain about Apple's patent on the <canvas> element. Apple isn't required to license this patent until <canvas> becomes part of a W3C Recommendation.

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          A standard that says how things are done is not a standard. It is merely documentation.

          A standard sets a standard, an expectation of behavior. If you do not meet that expectation, you are not compliant with the standard. Period.

          You can not have a standard that contradicts itself because then, nothing could ever actually implement it. This is one problem with the HTML5 standard, it is unimplementable due to self contradiction. This problem is made worse because now even theoretically compliant browsers will

      • Gee, that sounds like - a De Facto standard. Like MS Word .doc format! Guess evil is in the eye of the beholder.

        Good is when you help other companies ship a product that supports a generally agreed upon standard - like HTML5 extensions. That way you compete in the market based on quality of product.

        Evil is when you ship something you promote as a standard that you will not help anyone else ship a competing product for, like .doc.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        evil? no. Beauty? Death? Petrification? Anti-magic? sure. Evil is in the alignment of a Beholder.

    • by bberens (965711)
      It sounds to me like we've finally gotten around to admitting the truth about how the system works instead of wasting a bunch of time and money with the standards process. It's not as if a particular browser saying it was HTML# compliant was really meaningful. You still had to test every feature and work around the bugs on a per-browser basis. IMO nothing really has changed except the illusion.
      • by sorak (246725)

        I am curious if the attempt to strive toward HTML# compliance didn't result in more uniformity among them, however. I am trying not to fall into the trap of assuming that everything will become proprietary, but without an independent body saying "here's the standard, and here's where you are", then won't the compatibility problems get worse?

    • Exactly. I'm not even sure if I'd agree with author's goal in an idea world.

      What does he want, some independent body of academics, bureaucrats, public input, commercial bodies... setting up the HTML spec without any idea of how it will be implemented, used...

      Oh no... as far as I'm concerned, you want to determine the fate of HTML, you build a browser (or some connected product) and join the committee. Fight it out.

    • by theaveng (1243528) on Friday January 28, 2011 @10:01AM (#35032176)

      >>>HTML has effectively been abandoned to four companies: Apple, Google, Opera, and Mozilla.

      Sounds like a lot of FUD to me. It used to be:
      - 1999 and earlier: No HTML standard existed and Mozilla Netscape just willy-nilly added new features (blink tag for example).
      - 1999 and later: Ditto Microsoft once their IE became dominant. IE5 and 6 were browsers that complied with nothing, and even today still cause problems for web designers.

      Better to have four companies talking to one another and hashing-out HTML5 and HTML6, rather than the old (a) chaos of Netscape producing non-compliant features or (b) Monopoly of MS-IE. We don't want to have another Format war like HD-DVD v. Bluray on the internet. We want consensus first, even if that slows progress a little.

      • by gig (78408) on Friday January 28, 2011 @10:26AM (#35032562)

        It's not 4 companies, that is BS:

        1) in this context, Apple is the WebKit open source project

        2) dozens of vendors use WebKit, including Google, and there are many contributors

        3) Mozilla is a foundation

        4) Microsoft and Adobe are also part of W3C, although they sometimes had to be dragged kicking and screaming, but that just shows that standardization works

        • by Tim C (15259)

          What, in this context, is the difference between a company and a foundation?

          • by samuraiz (1026486)
            Profit motive.
          • by guruevi (827432)

            Foundation is not for profit, company is for profit. As you may have noticed from recent history, if a company for profit makes a 'standard' it will only be possible to get implemented either by said company or with the blessings (patent licenses) of said company (DOC, ActiveX, MSOffice Open XML, Silverlight, Flash, DECNet, Skype...). When a foundation makes a standard it will be possible to get different implementations without any restrictions (OpenDocument, HTML, WebM/VP8, Ethernet, ...)

    • by morgauxo (974071) on Friday January 28, 2011 @10:10AM (#35032312)
      So, if I made a browser that used a flavor of html which made your job easier you would automatically begin coding your html for it? Really? And who would your customer be?

      The sad thing for web developers is that it doesn't matter whose html standard is techically better or which one better enables development. It's which one/ones are being used by your target audience that matter. Otherwise you are coding a site just for yourself! It really comes down to a browser marketing issue, not an html standards one. Whoever markets their browser better gets to set the standard.
    • by kabdib (81955)

      Standards committees that didn't have to ship anything were responsible for a ton of late 80s to mid 90s disasters, like X.500, X.509 (certificates), and the whole of the ISO networking stack. There are borderline disasters such as SNMP. There are smoking radioactive holes where you don't want /ever/ want to go (SOAP is my favorite example here).

      The proper path: Write working code, get users and customers, re-design and re-write a few times, THEN you can have a standard.

  • by salesgeek (263995) on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:36AM (#35031764) Homepage

    The W3C has never really had complete control of HTML. Those who write the browser effectively can extend or cripple HTML features at will. Netscape added many new features [merlins.org] and everyone simply had to live with the results. IE did some nasty things to CSS and we all had to live with that, too.

    • It never had complete control, but it did its job. It established a level playing field and and brought parity (more or less) to four different browser engines. Now that there *is* competition, all four vendors are busy as bees trying to add new features and mimic the new features added by the other vendors. So we don't need a standard per se, as long as we have users that have iPhones expecting that a web page will work the same way on their desktops.

      So kudos to the W3C for making it viable for other br

  • HTML *was* simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drumcat (1659893) on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:36AM (#35031772)
    Remember when it was ok to use a "b" tag, and no one scoffed? How about table layouts? It's funny, the new standards aren't always better. This is why a format "of the people" isn't going anywhere. I could teach my grandparents how to edit HTML 10 years ago. Now, not so much. Is that better? I'd argue, no. It's not that editing is hard; it's not. The problem is that we're turning the browser into an application-level container. HTML should be more focused on making layouts easier, and faster. It should not be focused on animation. This is where MS Word has fallen off a cliff. If you want more adoption, focus HTML on what actually is important - layout that's understandable to the masses.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Any HTML your grandparents wrote 10 years ago still works fine today, so what are you complaining about?

      If anything, HTML5 represents a shift back towards the 'vernacular' - for example, the B tag is officially a-ok for bolded text.

    • Re:HTML *was* simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rui Lopes (599077) on Friday January 28, 2011 @10:11AM (#35032324) Homepage

      Remember when it was ok to use a "b" tag, and no one scoffed? How about table layouts? It's funny, the new standards aren't always better.

      1. 1) Download the NVDA screenreader [nvda-project.org]
      2. 2) Learn about the problems induced with your comment
      3. 3) Spread the word!

      If you still think it's actually not better, sorry, but you should have 10 blind persons hit you with their canes...

      • NVDA? Microsoft Windows only.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        We replaced B with STRONG and I with EM which are effectively the exact some thing. If you think its different, sorry you're confused.

        Tell me why exactly we needed to change tags?

        Explain to me how change the name of a tag from B to STRONG actually made it so your screen reader worked better. I'm pretty sure if it knew the difference between B and STRONG it could do whatever it want with text and wouldn't care if the tag was B or STRONG.

        Some douche's in a commitee sat down and decided the B was a display t

    • by lisany (700361)

      Heh, sorry, tables were never okay to use tables for layout.

    • by bcrowell (177657)

      Remember when it was ok to use a "b" tag, and no one scoffed? How about table layouts? [...] I could teach my grandparents how to edit HTML 10 years ago. Now, not so much

      Huh? The "b" tags still works. Here you go: bold. Tables still work too. If you want to use them, use them.

      If you want more adoption, focus HTML on what actually is important - layout that's understandable to the masses.

      Most people use GUI apps to create web pages. They couldn't care less whether the code produced by their GUI is done according to one standard or another. And suppose they did care. Are you claiming that a wave of popular support would then cause WHATWG to be successful, MS to support web standards, and patent holders to release their codecs under royalty-free terms?

      HTML should be more focused on making layouts easier, and faster. It should not be focused on animation.

      Well, first off, html 5 isn't j

    • The problem is that we're turning the browser into an application-level container. HTML should be more focused on making layouts easier, and faster

      But that's not what "the masses" want, or even need.

      The masses like doing things over the web, so any standards that improve the ability to do more things in the browser help people. The demand is obviously there from the growth of Flash.

      The "masses" also NEVER wanted to edit HTML. Not directly. Because most people HATE AND FEAR code. You simply cannot make

    • by Hatta (162192) on Friday January 28, 2011 @10:35AM (#35032676) Journal

      Remember when it was OK to use an "i" tag, and it worked on Slashdot?

    • Remember when it was ok to use a "b" tag, and no one scoffed? How about table layouts? It's funny, the new standards aren't always better. This is why a format "of the people" isn't going anywhere. I could teach my grandparents how to edit HTML 10 years ago. Now, not so much. Is that better? I'd argue, no.

      yeah, and 25 years ago i could teach my mother how to manually mark blocks and insert formating codes on text edited in an 8-bit computer. technology evolves, things get more complicated, then new tools apear to ease the process. so what if you can't create a good looking site using vi or notepad anymore ? use a goddamn authoring tool.

      HTML should be more focused on making layouts easier, and faster. It should not be focused on animation. This is where MS Word has fallen off a cliff. If you want more adoption, focus HTML on what actually is important - layout that's understandable to the masses.

      oh, and let animation be the focus of adobe flash ? video to real networks, microsoft or apple ? remember the same 10 years ago, we needed 3 different plugins installed so we

    • by Dynedain (141758)

      I could teach my grandparents how to edit HTML 10 years ago. Now, not so much. Is that better? I'd argue, no.

      You still can. Not that much has changed. In fact, HTML+CSS now is easier IMHO than 10 years ago and I've been doing this since '95. The real issue you're getting to is that people want much more out of their websites than they did 10 years ago and that requires more skillsets. A Geocities page just doesn't cut it anymore since now people are more familiar with what's possible and have raised their e

  • Isn't that par for the course? It seems a lot of standards are driven by a few big players who have a strong interest in it.
    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:41AM (#35031856)

      Isn't that par for the course? It seems a lot of standards are driven by a few big players who have a strong interest in it.

      True. When I read the summary, I thought that four players seemed better than the early days of the web, when HTML was driven by just the pair of Netscape and Microsoft.

    • by trout007 (975317)
      That is the whole purpose of an industry standard. They are not written by some outside independent "expert". They are written by people that are direct competitors in order to promote their industry. I am a mechanical engineer. We have drafting standards from the ASME. This isn't some independent group. The members of the committee included people from Boeing, GM, Caterpillar, Raytheon, Thiokol, Ford, Lockeed, ect. All people that had a vested interest in coming up with a standard way to interpret drawings
  • I can't remember if W3C has ever really successfully moved the HTML language ahead. Much of the early improvements were due to Netscape and Microsoft throwing new features around willy-nilly. A bunch of those features would be chosen to be part of the standard, while the rest (layers, blink, marquee) would fade away into disuse. As soon as the major players focused more on following the standards rather than setting them, then everything seemed to just grind to a halt. It wasn't until browser makers started

    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      Companies like Google are primarily a content delivery company with many services.. so they get to play some serious hardball like screwing over [pick a browser] users (*) every few months with browser sniffing bullshit. They are also playing games with the video tag, as if users were pawns to be thrown at the competition. It wasn't that long ago that Google was more than happy to support both Theora and H.264, professing loudly the fact that playing both was a strong selling point for its browser. Now they
  • Eh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:38AM (#35031802)

    HTML has effectively been abandoned to four companies: Apple, Google, Opera, and Mozilla.

    And Microsoft is where?

    Their Internet Explorer is used by most Internet users today ( http://marketshare.hitslink.com/browser-market-share.aspx?qprid=0 [hitslink.com] )

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Microsoft haven't been active in developing the latest version of HTML5, while the others have. That's all they mean - it's no reflection of the size of the company or their reach to customers, but in their work on the standard.
    • Microsoft is, I think, implementing the standard (slowly) rather than defining it. And I'd argue that the same is true of Mozilla and Opera to some extent.

      It seems to me that it's Webkit that's pushing the standard, with Apple and Google as the major contributors but with a whole load of other companies along for the ride. The Webkit project is becoming a de-facto standards body with a members list that includes every smartphone platform builder except Microsoft.

    • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by KingMotley (944240) on Friday January 28, 2011 @11:07AM (#35033186) Journal

      They are still there. The article just fails to mention them. Microsoft has contributed a LOT to the HTML 5 specification process. A very large number of test cases were submitted by them, and they contribute during the discussions as well. It's just the author obviously has a very anti-microsoft bias. And for the purposes of the article, the lack of any one company doesn't really matter the principle remains the same.

  • finally (Score:2, Insightful)

    Finally, people are starting to realise (and argue) that today's HTML is no more "open" than Flash. It's just a cartel between a few major tech companies to promote particular implementations of particular technologies in their medium term interest. Apple's canvas is the most obvious culprit. Rather than freeing people from Flash, it gives such a seductive but incomplete alternative (to an already subpar platform) that developers are encouraged to write native Cocoa apps. It's msjvm deja vu all over again.

    • Re:finally (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BHearsum (325814) on Friday January 28, 2011 @10:32AM (#35032638) Homepage

      Regardless of who is setting the standard, it *is* an open standard, implementable by anyone who reads the spec. Flash is not. Big difference.

    • by Henriok (6762)
      There's a WORLD of difference between a dictating singularity making a "standard" and then hardly documenting it after the fact (you can include Google and WebM here too) and a small committe comprising four of the world's five implementors doing an openly documented iterative evolutionary development, while doing at least three different implementations in parallel.
    • by Piata (927858)
      I can't right click and view source with Flash. With HTML, it takes about 2 seconds. Are you seriously comparing a pre-compiled, all encompassing file format to tags in the HTML spec?
  • Bad Thing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArhcAngel (247594) on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:43AM (#35031880)

    Hey! At least a certain monolithic juggernaut ISV that is known for hijacking ALL standards isn't in the top four.

  • Could be worse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:47AM (#35031936) Journal
    At least the standards aren't determined by Microsoft.
  • by graveyhead (210996) <fletch AT fletchtronics DOT net> on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:55AM (#35032068)

    Last I checked, anyone could submit ideas, corrections, feature requests *RIGHT THERE ON THE HTML5 WORKING DRAFT*. "Feedback Comments" right at the top of http://www.w3.org/TR/html5/ [w3.org]

    Now, if they ignore your idea, that's almost certainly because it sucks and is badly written. No really, it does suck. Follow the instructions there *carefully*, really think about this feature or tag or whatever you're requesting, and your ideas will get consideration.

  • I am from before the first browser war.
  • Standards always tend to be dominated by the people and companies that show up.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Friday January 28, 2011 @10:02AM (#35032192)

    What's happening with this issue is a microcosm of what's happening in the world. Democracy and the rule of law wither, while wealth, in the form of organizations or a few super-rich individuals control outcomes.

  • patents, MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Friday January 28, 2011 @10:04AM (#35032214) Homepage

    It seems to me that everybody is moaning and groaning about what a bad job WHATWG is doing, when in fact WHATWG is just doing the best it can in an extremely difficult environment created by patents and Microsoft.

    The confusion with respect to audio and video codecs only exists because of patents. A certain patent-encumbered codec shows up that's good enough, so it gets widely adopted, and then it's impossible to displace it because of network effects. This is not WHATWG's fault.

    The html 5 feature that I really care about is mathml, and here it's very, very clear that MS is the bad guy and W3C and WHATWG have just been trying, unsuccessfully, to work around MS. Mathml worked fine in xhtml years ago, but MS never bothered to support xhtml in IE, which would have been technically trivial to do. They stated that their policy was to have independent vendors supply support for mathml rendering via plugins, and Design Science did their best to do that, but MS made it impossible for them to do that in a standard way, because the standard depended on xhtml, which IE didn't support. So xhtml died in the crib, and WHATWG decided to pour the svg and mathml namespaces into the flat html 5 namespace. Kind of an ugly solution, but they had no other choice. Now for the first time it is theoretically possible to write a web page coded in a standard way that has mathml in it and that might render properly in some future version of IE. But meanwhile big institutions are still sticking to IE 6 because they need compatibility with all its bugs, and preview versions of IE 9 have broken mathml support. [dessci.com]

    The big problem is that commercial entities have interests that oppose the interests of their customers and internet users at large. MS wants users to be locked into their browser through proprietary plugins and bug-compatibility, and they don't stand to profit by supporting features like mathml, which are only used by a relatively small proportion of their users. (Never mind that blind people can access mathml but not bitmapped renderings of equations. Blind people aren't economically important to MS.) Owners of patents on codecs want to harvest licensing fees, and they don't care if that screws everybody else up and makes a mess out of audio and video on the web.

    McAllister complains that WHATWG is dominated by a clique consisting of Google, Apple, Mozilla, and Opera. But that clique is basically a list of all the browser vendors, and doesn't that kind of make sense? These are the people who acually need to implement the standard, so of course they should be the ones with the most influence. The only browser vendor missing from the list is MS, which is only interested in subverting standards.

    • McAllister complains that WHATWG is dominated by a clique consisting of Google, Apple, Mozilla, and Opera. But that clique is basically a list of all the browser vendors, and doesn't that kind of make sense?

      It makes sense to include them in the standardization process. It doesn't make sense to let the standardization* process be dictated by them, with no one else having a say on it, whether they are competing companies (MS included) or, ghasp, any of the thousands of people that make a living developing and maintaining the WWW.

      * this isn't a standardization process per se. Once the WHATWG decided to abandon versioning numbers they effectively abandoned any attempt to define a basic set of features which any i

    • by Tim C (15259)

      but MS never bothered to support xhtml in IE

      In what sense? The site I'm working on is XHTML 1.0 strict compliant and renders properly in IE 6, 7 and 8. No, we don't use MathML, but to say simply "IE doesn't support XHTML" seems somewhat disingenuous.

      • by bcrowell (177657)

        In what sense? The site I'm working on is XHTML 1.0 strict compliant and renders properly in IE 6, 7 and 8. No, we don't use MathML, but to say simply "IE doesn't support XHTML" seems somewhat disingenuous.

        You're mistaken. Xhtml only works in IE if you serve it as text/html. If you have xhtml+mathml content, you're supposed to deliver it as application/xhtml+xml, but then IE won't display it. This makes it impossible to make a single, static xhtml web page that uses xhtml features (such as mathml) and renders in both IE and other browsers.

  • That's 3 more than we used to have. And not to put to fine a point on it, but

    • I liked where you were going with that thought, a shame you had to leave.

      • by tthomas48 (180798)

        I kept typing after I hit the preview button. The preview looked fine, but then it posted that typing (not the preview) when I clicked submit.

        I feel like there's something in that about Ajax and web standards...

        • Huh, when I hit preview there's no means to continue typing...

          • by tthomas48 (180798)

            Yes. It was in between the time when I hit preview and when my page actually showed the preview div. Due to some bizarre networking setups in my house I have a decent amount of lag.

  • Most standards that actually work have open-source reference implementations. HTML and CSS do not.
    • by Have Blue (616)
      WebKit.
      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        WebKit is not a reference implementation. Its certainly an implementation, but it is neither complete nor authoritative.
    • Most standards that actually work have open-source reference implementations.

      Then I guess video codecs are exceptions to your "most standards". ISO publishes standards, many of which are standards for mathematical systems. These have a reference implementation in a computer program whose source code is available to the public. However, due to ISO's patent policy, many standards cannot be implemented in open source software as Open Source Initiative defines it [opensource.org]. For example, ISO allows MPEG-LA to attach a uniform royalty to the MPEG-4 standard, including the controversial AVC Advanced

  • by boxwood (1742976) on Friday January 28, 2011 @10:18AM (#35032450)

    The lack of version numbers is just being realistic. No browser is 100% compliant even with HTML 4.01, which has been around for how long now? And when is HTML 4.02 coming out? Seems to me they've abandoned the versions a long time ago. Everyone just uses HTML 4.01.

    They can make a HTML 5.00 standard, and have most of the browsers implement 99% of it and then they release 5.01 and the browser makers will get to work implementing that, but totally abandon implementing that last 1% of the HTML 5.00 spec... because they would be too busy implementing 5.01, 5.02, etc. So a Web developer sets a HTML 5.00 doctype, uses a feature that isn't implemented yet hoping that someday browsers may support it. But there is no guarantee they will. So the web developer will just change the doctype to 5.01, 5.02 (or whatever the latest version of the spec is) every time he makes changes to a web page or CMS.

    So they're just being realistic. No matter what standard they come up with, it will never be implemented fully by all browsers. Their standard won't be the law, it will be more of a guideline. Having version numbers is pretty pointless when all browsers aren't going to render a HTML 5.01 document exactly the same. Its easier for the web developer to tell the browser that this is a HTML 5 doc and the browser will use its latest code to render the page.

  • As a standards making body, the W3C was pretty much doomed as soon as they abandoned things that people actually use and decided to focus on XHTML 2 for so long (which almost nobody was interested in).

    The result was WHAT-WG being created (with the major browser players) to do the work that needed to be done: adding features to HTML that people actually care about.

    Of course we've got the major vendors making the standard, they're the only ones who have been actually focused on making a standard for years! If

  • You don't standardize at such a high abstraction level, especially not for user interfaces - it utterly stifles progress. Any standard W3C provides should be expressed as a set of unit tests that validate the properties and behavior of browser objects.

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