WHATWG Weekly: Sniffing, Peer-to-Peer, and
Another week, another WHATWG Weekly. While the change of name continues to excite the wider world — be sure to read HTML5 vs. HTML by Jeffrey Zeldman for some perspective — standards development marches on.
Media Type Sniffing
At the start of the week Adam Barth gave “whatwgians” a heads up on an update to the Media Type Sniffing specification, published by the IETF Web Security (websec) WG. It now includes rules for handling WebP, Ogg, WAVE, and WebM resources that lack a media type. This work was originally part of the HTML specification and as it progressed found a home at the IETF. The reason sniffing is being documented is that browsers are required to do it if they want to handle legacy content. On top of that, if their sniffing algorithms differ it is bad for security, as explained by the Secure Content Sniffing For Web Browsers paper.
As fonts are being uniformly sniffed by browsers as well due to the lack of registered media types for them I asked for the font sniffing rules to be included in Media Type Sniffing.
Patrik Persson with Ericsson Research reported they have been exploring peer-to-peer conversational video based on several APIs from the HTML specification. This is where the web platform is still lacking compared to plugins, but it is starting to look like that will change. Sorting out the details however will likely take time as browsers do not have camera integration so far and have no UDP or peer-to-peer network stack.
The network part is also still an unknown. There is no agreed upon standard protocol yet for this type of functionality. The RTC-Web effort plans to change that though.
Various people are unsatisfied with the design of the
hgroup element and wish for it to be changed. Some want it to be removed until more research is done. And they may be right. There is some anecdotal evidence that the element is difficult for people to grasp — Bruce Lawson discussed it with developers and Lars Gunther experimented on students. There are a few bugs opened on it and Steve Faulkner is trying to get the HTML WG to do a poll.
The W3C HTML WG currently has three issues open on the processing details of
meta elements with their
http-equiv attribute set to "
content-type" (125, 126, and 148). Change proposals were written for all of these last week.
Kenny Lu, assisted by Henri Sivonen, is trying to get the
u element conforming by writing a Change Proposal for issue 144. Furthermore he believes
u as well as
i should be marked presentational. On the HTML WG mailing list Ian Hickson argued that if we return
i to be presentational elements in HTML and introduce
u as a presentational element, we should bring all presentational elements back. Preferring consistency over design-by-committee.
- Boris Zbarsky reports that changing the
baseelement to a simpler model continues to be trouble with legacy content.
- Ian Hickson pimped the square boxes on the WHATWG Home Page. I organized the WHATWG Wiki.
- Michael Nordman is looking for a way to have cross-origin caching for secure resources, something currently prohibited by the application cache feature.
- Steve Lacey wants more data out of media elements.
- Aryeh Gregor wonders why the
Selectioninterface — now defined in the DOM Range specification he is working on together with Ms2ger — supports multiple ranges. Boris Zbarsky explains that in Gecko you can have disjoint selections.
- Aryeh also asked what the granularity for the definition of
Selection.modify()ought to be.
- Ian Hickson explained why Web Storage is not part of HTML.
- Hallvord R. M. Steen with Opera has been working on a specification for copy & paste. Earlier today he gave an update on tests and outstanding issues.
- XMLHttpRequest Level 2 — a specification I write — gained support for