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WHATWG Weekly: WHATWG goes Native!

Monday, April 18th, 2011

OK, everyone: time to form a drum circle.

Kyle Huey proposed a new method, toBlob, on Canvas. This method would have the same functionality as Mozilla's non-standard mozGetAsFile, and would retrieve the Canvas contents in such a way that they can be stored in a file.

Jukka Korpela brought up the Chrome support of commas in numbers and the concept of localization and floating point number representation. Jukka also asked about ways of expressing physical quantities.

The HTML5 witch doctor, Ian Hickson, has been applying more HTML WG decisions, and doing some event tweaking. If you ever want to follow what's happening in the land of HTML edits, check out the WHATWG Twitter thread, which documents each new change.

The W3C HTML WG tribe has had an extremely busy time last week. In fact, the email list is becoming a bit hard to follow. However, machete in hand, I dove in.

I had missed pointing out a very long thread that Danny Ayers triggered on systematic access to media/plugin metadata, and that has generated thoughtful and interesting replies.

The co-chairs published a decision on Issue 131 on adding a caret location API to Canvas. The co-chairs decided in favor of the proposal to modify the existing Canvas API caret and focus ring but with a couple of exceptions.

The co-chairs also decided on Issue 155 on table border, ruling in favor of the proposal to add border="1" on HTML tables.

As is typical with the HTML WG, both decisions were accepted graciously by the body—leading the co-chairs to marvel, yet again, at how wonderfully easy and uncomplicated their WG tasks are.

Elsewhere in the W3C, the Clipboard API and Events Working draft was published this week, as was the CSS Text Level 3 draft, and the Messenging API draft. These join with the First Draft of the Platform Accessibility APIs Implementation Guide, making this a very productive week among the working groups.

In other news, Bruce Lawson was kind enough to pull together a list of HTML5ish people on Twitter. Let's raise our coconut drinks in thanks!

As usual, if I missed something or made an error, please provide a note (including links, if applicable) in comments and I'll update this post.

A hui hou kakou!

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Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

This week was more continuation of previous discussions, though there are changes and decisions of note.

A new discussion broke out about making checkboxes readonly.

Discussion still continues on styling details, in addition to other questions on the elements' implementation, including an implementation proposal.

Ian Hickson wrote about changes he made to the MediaController, as noted in detail in the HTML5 change tracker.

Ian also applied changes based on previous W3C HTML WG decisions, including the decision on modifying the ARIA mapping table. This change, though, generated some disagreement, and the change was reverted.

Over in the W3C there are several decisions of note.

The first is related to Issue-32 on table summary. The co-chairs agreed with the proposal to continue obsoleting <table> @summary.

The co-chairs also made a decision on Issue 27 on rel ownership. The decision was in favor of the change proposal to defer to the Microformats community for maintaining rel values.

Just when you thought it was safe to get back into the water...the <u> element is back. Cue Jaws music.

The decision about Issue 147, playbackrate undefined is in favor of the proposal to consider playback rate a hardware limitation and not to expose it in an API.

Today, the co-chairs posted a decision on Issue 131 caret-location-api. The proposal adopted modifies the existing Canvas 2D API caret and focus ring support to drive screen magnification, with a couple of caveats, detailed in the decision. Concerns have been expressed about the caveats, primarily because previous decisions have focused mainly on choosing between proposals, not choosing a proposal and modifying it. The only other decision where this has happened is the decision related to the ARIA mapping.

In other news:

Robin Berjon announced the Call for Consensus for a FPWD of the new Calendar API. It joins with the publication of the 8 drafts from the HTML WG, including HTML5.

The Grid Layout First Working Draft was also published, as well as the FPWD for the Vocabularies for EmotionML, and the Last Call for the Emotion Markup Language (EmotionML).

As always, if I missed something or made a mistake, send me an email or tweet, or leave a comment.

update Forgot this one: Sam Ruby put out a call for brainstorming for the next version of HTML. A wiki has been set up, and I believe all parties are welcome to participate—you don't have to be a member of HTML WG.

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WHATWG Weekly: the rubber hits the road

Monday, April 4th, 2011

The HTML WG is heading towards Last Call, and the activity is increasing, both in the W3C and in the WHATWG email lists.

Opera is working on its implementation of the new HTML5 <details> and had several implementation questions. The issue is that the implementors need to provide a way for users to style the element, and whatever is used should be consistent among the implementors.

In the discussion, the concept of XBL shadow trees arose. If you're not familiar with XBL, it is, or was, the XML Binding Language—a Mozilla creation using XML to describe the behavior and styling of XUL widgets and XML elements. There is an effort to standardize the concept in the W3C with XBL2. Currently, the spec is in Candidate Recommendation status, with the most recent activity being a discussion about moving the spec forward that happened in March.

The issue of what happens with the DOM range when a page mutates spawned a lively discussion between Aryeh Gregor (Google) and Boris Zbarsky (Mozilla). The discussion looks to continue from a response posted by Ryosuke Miya (WebKit).

In an email that revives a dormant discussion related to media elements statistics, Silvia Pfeiffer points to a wiki page on Video Metrics. These wiki pages that pull all the disparate pieces together—not only from different implementors but discussed in different email lists and groups—are essential for ensuring cooperation, cohesion, and transparency. If anyone has another page that should be featured in a Weekly, drop a note in comments, send me an email, or tweet me at @shelleypowers, and I'll find a way to incorporate a reference to the page.

In the meantime, Chris Pearce has added support for Mozilla-specific decoding/painting statistics in the Firefox trunk for expected release with Firefox 5.

The discussion on @longdesc continues. In a comment to a weblog post, Bruce Lawson questioned whether the <details> element can't be used in place of longdesc. He continued the discussion with a question on the feasibility of this substitute to the WHATWG email list.

Speaking of @longdesc, I wanted to take this opportunity to point out the extensive collection of @longdesc use cases that Laura Carlson has been heroically gathering. There was also a wiki page gathering together all of the discussions on longdesc, but I believe it was locked down due to contentious activity. If there's a new wiki page somewhere, make a note in comments or send me the link and I'll update this page.

Alexandre Morgaut initiated a fascinating discussion on a browser implementation detail that many JavaScript developers may not be aware of.

All the major browsers add any HTML element that has an @id attribute to the global namespace. Chrome, Opera, IE, and Safari do so automatically, and Firefox does so in quirks mode. What this means is that if you have an element with an @id of "testing", you can access that element by the @id value name directly in code—without having to use getElementById first to get the element reference.

This behavior isn't part of HTML4, but it is part of HTML5, as noted in a bug filed on this behavior.

I linked to this discussion to a), make you aware of the functionality and the ongoing discussion and bug, and b) to strongly suggest that you never make use of this functionality in your applications. Read the WHATWG email thread for more on why this browser behavior is potentially harmful.

On the W3C side, I'll defer details of actions to the inestimable Karl Dubost, and his excellent Open Web Platform Weekly reports, but I did want to point out some decisions and email discussions of interest.

The co-chairs made a decision on Issue 120 related to RDFa prefixes. They decided in favor of continued support for prefixes, with recommendations to clarify their use and ensure people are aware they are optional.

The co-chairs also made a decision about Issue 122, choosing the change proposal that recommended removing the section describing alt text for decorative images out of HTML5 in favor of a link to the WCAG 2.0 guidelines.

In regards to Issue 142 on Poster Alt, the co-chairs decided in favor of the no Poster Alt change proposal.

Later in the week, the co-chairs declared that Issue 145 on codecs-vs-octet, was closed by amicable resolution. Amicable resolution...we should all take a moment to pause and savor this rare resolution state.

OK, moment's over.

The co-chairs continued with the rollout of decisions with one for Issue 129 on ARIA mapping, and whether @role can override rather than define element semantics. The chairs decided in favor of the change proposal to allow @role to change some role mappings, with some specific exceptions outlined in the decision.

I believe this is a first: the chairs also re-opened Issue 30 as a Last Call Issue. In case you're unfamiliar with Issue 30, it is about @longdesc.

Two decisions led to formal objections: Issue 120 on RDFa prefixes, and Issue 142 on Poster Alt. All formal objections are recorded and maintained in one specific page.

The Canvas API accessibility folks have asked for feedback on improved hit testing for canvas accessibility. The request is focused specifically to the canvas development community. I believe you can respond to the public-canvas-api email list even if you aren't a member. If not, you could probably post emails directly to Richard Schwerdtfeger.

An announcement was made on the new Task Force for Home Networking inside the Web and TV IG.

There's also be considerable discussion on incorporating support for PUT and DELETE in forms, including a re-opened bug on the issue.

The discussion still continues on the license for HTML5.

Whew! I'm exhausted just writing all of this stuff. The activity should continue to be high as the W3C HTML WG moves towards Last Call, and as the rubber hits the road with HTML5.

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WHATWG Weekly: Quiet Week

Monday, March 28th, 2011

A relatively quiet week this week.

Ian Hickson modified pushState to match the Firefox 4 implementation. More on this in the WHATWG email list.

Nicholas Zakas brought up a question on the scoped attribute of the style element, when the element is placed in an area expecting flow content. This triggered an interesting discussion about what works, as compared to what's valid.

Stefan Håkansson suggested that since the Peer-to-peer and Stream APIs are similar between what is proposed in the WHATWG spec, and a comparable spec written by Harald Alvestrand that one is adopted as a base for further work. Harold expressed willingness, but is concerned about embedding the API in HTML5.

Speaking of which, my favorite quote of the week comes from Michael Smith in the WHATWG IRC:

# [18:14] anyway, I'm happy until PHP starts getting called HTML5

Rumor has it that Starbuck's is coming out with an HTML5 brand of coffee—twice the caffeine with a hint of fruity, hot pepper notes.

On the W3C side, the discussion continues about HTML5 licensing.

The issue about longdesc has been re-opened and there was some fragmented discussion on this in the W3C HTML WG email list. This discussion on longdesc seems to have the most activity, but nothing has been decided.

What was decided was Issue 126 on the requirement to break RFC 2616 compliance with respect to backslashes not needed for legacy content. The co-chairs decided to leave the text in HTML5, unchanged.

The co-chairs also issued a decision on Issue 140. The co-chairs did adopt the proposal by Noah Mendelsohn to modify the text of HTML5 so that "conforming document" now becomes "conforming HTML5 document", and that the term only be applied to the HTML5 document, itself. This does necessitate changes to the HTML5 spec.

Another co-chair decision is related to Issue 139, which asked that the Microdata usability study acknowledgement be removed from the HTML5 specification, since Microdata is no longer contained in the HTML5 specification. Instead, the acknowledgement will be moved to the Microdata specification.

If I missed anything that should have been included, add a note in comments and I'll update this post. Otherwise, ta until next week.


The HTML to Platform Accessibility APIs Implementation Guide is up for first publication this week.

In addition, the HTML WG co-chairs asked for consensus on publishing eight other working drafts including HTML5.

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WHATWG Weekly: Device we hardly knew ye

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Hello folks, and welcome to my first WHATWG Weekly. In case you're wondering where Anne van Kesteren is, you can follow his adventures for the next three months at Anne, Tom, and Peter's Trip Weblog. Last time I looked, the gang is in Colombia. And there was something about beer.

peerConnection, <device>, and video conferencing

The biggest change last week was signaled by an email from WHATWG editor, Ian Hickson.

According to the email, Ian made the following changes to WHATWG HTML specification:

Two other WHATWG email list threads are also related to these new updates: one related to PeerConnection encryption, the other providing feedback on the new additions related to the Video conferencing and peer-to-peer communication section in the spec.

Rich Paste and execCommand

Two other lively discussions happened in the WHATWG email lists this last week. The first is one that started the beginning of March and is about the execCommand spec that Aryeh Gregor is working on.

The second is a new thread that started this week, based on a request for image paste capability. It seems this interest has been triggered by work on a patch for this functionality in WebKit/Chrome.

W3C HTML WG Decisions

The co-chairs over at the W3C HTML WG have been busy this week, publishing three new decisions in addition to starting straw polls for others.

In Issue 101, related to the ASCII Character set reference, the co-chairs decided in favor of the proposal to maintain the link to the free of charge ASCII reference (no spec change).

In Issue 125, related to breaking RFC 2616 compliance with respect to single quotes not needed for legacy content, the co-chairs decided in favor of altering the specification in order to comply with Anne's original proposal.

In Issue 128, related to the figure element within <p>, the co-chairs decided on the no-change proposal, leaving figure to be treated the same as <p> and <aside>.

That's it for this week. If I missed anything, let me know and I'll update this post. Otherwise, see you all next week.

update I missed five other W3C HTML WG co-chair decisions:

In Issue 56 on the alignment between HTML5 and IRI align on URLs, the co-chairs decided on restoring the removed text, which I believe maps to this change proposal.

In Issue 88, on meta/content and allowing multiple languages, the co-chairs decided on making Content-Language non-conforming, which does result in a spec change.

One of my issues bit the dust: In Issue 96, the co-chairs decided on the proposal to keep the progress element. This decision was not exactly a surprise.

In Issue 124 on allowing "nofollow" and "noreferrer" as rel values, the co-chairs decided on the proposal that would disallow these values.

In Issue 127, on whether attributes on <link> and <a> can have different effects, the co-chairs decided on the proposal to optimize the text..

So many issues, so little time.

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