Reforming HTML

Many good people have expressed their concern about the state of the W3C, like Jeffrey Zeldmann, Molly Holzschlag, Eric Meyer, or Björn Höhrmann. Tim Berners-Lee responded a few months ago. Now he announced reforms in his TimBL blog.

The transition from HTML to XML has failed, so they will evolve HTML incrementally with more powerful XHTML features as incentives for switching. We have seen that recently with the XHTML 1.1 role attribute module. Another XHTML 2.0 feature I can foresee as a XHTML 1.1 module is the href attribute on all elements, not just anchors. Convince a browser vendor to implement this feature, and if developers want to play with the cool stuff, they have to switch to XHTML …

The development process of the drafts will be controlled by a new HTML group with different chair and staff contact. Also the work on XHTML 2 will proceed independently from HTML. HTML forms will be extended to become a subset of the powerful XForms. And the W3C finally bought some new server hardware for the W3C validator.

The new groups shall be more responsive, with powerful issue tracking systems, but at the same time Berners-Lee asks for respectfulness and social awareness. We are not talking about technical issues alone. There are people and their feelings involved as well, and we have to pay more respect to that.

Get involved! You can discuss on the W3C QA blog about the proposal, or participate in the QA interest group, the I18N or the WAI outreach working groups — even if your company is not a member of the W3C.

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2 Responses to ‘Reforming HTML’

  1. /T

    Unfortunately, if your company is not a member of the W3C, there is no point in getting involved, at least in some working groups. You will be largely ignored, no matter how valid your input may be, as there are larger things at stake. Such as the vital interests of companies who are a member of the W3C. As an example, ars technica provides some great insight as to why XForms failed so miserably.

  2. Martin Kliehm

    I know what you mean. I have been posting to HTML working group mailing lists to no avail or to authors of working drafts and never got any reply. But the QA interest group and the outreach working groups are actually looking for support from mere mortals. The chance to be heard is much greater if you’re a member of one of those groups.