Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group Launches Mailing List

Friday June 4th, 2004

Ian Hickson writes: "Some of you may be interested to hear that people from Opera and Mozilla have set up an open mailing list for discussing Web Forms 2 and other new specs that have been discussed in various places over the last few months."

The list is the public forum of the newly-formed Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group, an organisation made of contributors from several major Web browser development teams. Current invited members are Brendan Eich, David Baron, David Hyatt, Håkon Wium Lie, Ian Hickson, Johnny Stenback and Maciej Stachowiak.

The group is working on specifications for Web Forms 2.0, Web Apps 1.0, Web Controls 1.0 and a CSS object rendering model. This work will be largely done outside of the World Wide Web Consortium, though finalised versions of the specs are expected to be submitted for formal standardisation. While the decision to operate independently of the W3C may be seen as controversial, many feel that formal standards bodies move too slowly to react to proprietary technologies such as Microsoft's forthcoming XAML. In addition, many in the W3C are pushing for Web applications standards based on technologies such as XForms and Scalable Vector Graphics, whereas the members of the WHATWG favour backwards-compatible HTML-based solutions, which they believe would be easier to implement and more likely to be adopted by Web developers.

#11 Re: WHATWG vs SVG

by SpaceDogDN <>

Saturday June 5th, 2004 8:33 AM

You are replying to this message

I'm not really concerned about what the W3C does with SVG. SVG 1.0 is already out, and the browser makers can decide how or if they want to support it. If they create a newer spec that's too complicated to implement, the browser makers will simply ignore anything they don't want to implement.

Of course, what this may lead to is a company like Adobe creating a plug-in for SVG 1.2 that allows full-blown web applications. It's a sort of browser-on-top-of-a-browser situation similar to the way Java was going to be a platform on top of an OS. The various browser developers could do little to stop it, since they'd effectively have to cut out plug-in support. It's also possible such a plug-in would force Mozilla to implement at least some of SVG 1.2, since Mozilla would want to maintain its reputation as a supporter of web standards.

My major concern, though, is that the W3C may hold up the standardization of XBL while they're working on SVG 1.2. XBL, especially in combination with the use of alternative stylesheets, is an incredibly power tool for web developers. If we could get it standardized and put into browsers like Opera and Safari, we'd have a far more persuasive argument for people to move away from IE.

> It looks to me like browser vendors are trying to get their "freedom to innovate" > back from a standards body. I believe this is good. It will put a stop sign on a way > where people create unimplementable specs, remove attributes only by "political" > reasons (see how the XHTML people did try to remove the style attribute") and > are in general slow. But this is what MS is saying for years now.

Not exactly. Microsoft created its own proprietary extensions for the purposes of user lock-in and made little or no attempt to discuss the features with other browser developers beforehand. Then they complained that creating a standard would take to long. The reality was they didn't care about making their extensions a standard, since it would only help other browser developers implement their proprietary features.

WHAT WG was created not because a specific developer wanted to do it's own thing, but because the majority of W3C members aren't browser developers. They're plug-in developers. Some people within the W3C have even stated that the browser is dead. This kind of environment is openly hostile to the further development of existing browser-based standards. The only logical course of action in this situation would be for the various browser developers to form their own standards group, which is what happened.