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This Week in HTML 5 – Episode 9

by Mark Pilgrim, Google in Weekly Review

Welcome back to "This Week in HTML 5," where I'll try to summarize the major activity in the ongoing standards process in the WHATWG and W3C HTML Working Group.

Most of the changes in the spec this week revolve around the <textarea> element.

Shelley Powers pointed out that I haven't mentioned the issue of distributed extensibility yet. (The clearest description of the issue is Sam Ruby's message from last year, which spawned a long discussion.) The short version: XHTML (served with the proper MIME type, application/xhtml+xml) supports embedding foreign data in arbitrary namespaces, including SVG and MathML. None of these technologies (XHTML, SVG, or MathML) have had much success on the public web. Despite Chris Wilson's assertion that "we cannot definitively say why XHTML has not been successful on the Web," I think it's pretty clear that Internet Explorer's complete lack of support for the application/xhtml+xml MIME type has something to do with it. (Chris is the project lead on Internet Explorer 8.)

Still, it is true that XHTML does support distributed extensibility, and many people believe that the web would be richer if SVG and MathML (and other as-yet-unknown technologies) could be embedded and rendered in HTML pages. The key phrase here is "as-yet-unknown technologies." In that light, the recent SVG-in-HTML proposal (which I mentioned several weeks ago) is beside the point. The point of distributed extensibility is that it does not require approval from a standards body. "Let a thousand flowers bloom" and all that, where by "flowers," I mean "namespaces." This is an unresolved issue.

Other interesting changes this week:

Around the web:

Tune in next week for another exciting episode of "This Week in HTML 5."

2 Responses to “This Week in HTML 5 – Episode 9”

  1. [...] thick here.  what is wrong with using XML for this? Come on.  I can answer that with two words: IE, and Postel.  Next [...]

  2. [...] would work, much of the discussion centers around the concept of distributed extensibility, which I’ve touched on before. For example, here is Chris Wilson (of the Microsoft IE development team): “We have had (in the [...]

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