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WHATWG Weekly: “Distributed Extensibility” put to rest and loads more

by Anne van Kesteren in Weekly Review

Two weeks ago I reported that Philip Jägenstedt wrote a proposal to ignore the Content-Type header for video resources and last week that made it into the HTML standard. Video formats were already being sniffed if the Content-Type had an appropriate value. Now that process is simplified.

The server-sent events feature was also simplified. 2xx — except 200 — HTTP response codes no longer have any special semantics.

Meanwhile Web Workers gained the online and offline events turning its navigator.onLine into something useful. And the window.onerror feature will also be invoked for compile-time errors. Aryeh Gregor’s work on window.atob() and window.btoa() — methods for base 64 encoding and decoding — made it into the HTML standard.

The Wider Web

Ian Hickson dedicated a blog entry to a change to the HTML standard with regards to script execution order. Suffice to say that inserting scripts dynamically is hairy, but at least it is well defined now.

Robert O'Callahan wrote Distinguishing "Embeddable" Versus "Readable" Web Resources Considered Harmful to which I replied with Breaking Web Platform Consistency Considered Harmful. Loading external resources is a complicated topic and I would like to avoid changing strategy there. Ian Hickson captures it quite well in a comment: I think the consistency argument has to be given a lot of weight, because otherwise each generation of Web standards people will bring with it a whole new set of API styles, and we’ll end up with a platform that is nigh on impossible to intuitively understand.

Related to loading policies a post by Mike Cardwell on abusing HTTP status codes to expose private information garnered quite a bit of attention last week. Simon Pieters suggested that my From-Origin proposal would be able to tackle that issue. It is quite a severe privacy problem that we should study carefully.

If you are interested in what editors of the CSS Working Group are working on there is now @csscommits where updates of CSS specifications are announced.

“Distributed Extensibility”

The Chairs of the W3C HTML Working Group finally announced the decision on ISSUE-41. HTML will not have XML-style namespaces. HTML has numerous extension points already and it is unclear whether namespaces are a good idea. It is nice that the W3C and WHATWG are in agreement on this, insofar they are actually separate.

I should point out that this decision can still be appealed if new information is brought forward. This discussion has been going on for a decade so hopefully we covered it, but you never know.

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One Response to “WHATWG Weekly: “Distributed Extensibility” put to rest and loads more”

  1. It’s awesome that none other than Sam Ruby announced the decision on “decentralized extensibility”, given this comment from 2008: make no mistake about it, it will make it into the HTML5 specification.