Mozilla Foundation and Opera Software Describe Joint Vision for Web Application Framework

Tuesday May 25th, 2004

The Mozilla Foundation and Opera Software have published a paper outlining their vision for Web applications. The paper, submitted in preparation for next week's W3C Workshop on Web Applications and Compound Documents, describes a device-independent Web application framework based on HTML and backwards-compatible with existing Web content. The two organisations are keen to get parts of this framework in place soon to prevent a single-vendor solution (see Microsoft's position paper) becoming dominant. Co-author Ian "Hixie" Hickson's provides more insight in a recent weblog post on the matter.

#26 Re: W3C or another standards body

by jgraham

Wednesday May 26th, 2004 2:24 PM

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Well 'we' (i.e. The Mozilla Foundation + Opera + Whoever) don't really need a 'standards body' - they need a mutually compatible implementation. Code trumps specifcations and if the code provides useful functionality, then authors will be prepared to use it. As far as I can tell, the W3C has a somewhat patchy history. It's policy of upfront design is nice in theory but in practice seem to lead to specifcations that no-one's happy with or specifcations that only work in edge cases. To date, the only W3C standards (I can think of, though maybe I'm wrong) that have been widely adopted /on the web/ are HTML, DOM and CSS. Other specs have been somewhat useful in other areas - XML has worked well for some forms of data interchange (but has been a total faliure on the web - even 'XML' formats such as XHTML and Atom are usually parsed by something other than an XML parser), SVG seems to have a following among the free-software community (but doesn't have anything like the penetration of, say, flash, on the web), MathML is still loosing out to PNG/GIF images, XSLT is used by some people but is generally disliked. That's not exactly a stunning track record. If Opera and Safari can be convinced to implement something like Mozilla's XBL, the -moz-box CSS extensions (which Safari already has) and whatever other things are needed to create a Web-Applications spec that's basically backwards compatible with HTML (in the sense that it doesn't require an entirely new renderng engine), then that *will* become standard, even if the W3C standard is an unholy mix of Xforms and SVG-with-network-IO that gets two compatible implementations and no users.