The H.E.A.T. Exchange

Free thoughts from the mind of the Anomalous One

Message to the W3C: Hand Over the Keys to the Asylum to the Crazies

The W3C no longer leads the web (as it so brazenly state in its Mission Statement).

Many will feel that the W3C never actually lead the web. I guess this will be something for the historians to figure out. As for me, the W3C simply served as a figure head; taking in all the backlash and criticisms for the bullies who were actually leading the web.

As long as the W3C was content just to play this role, then its principle membership allowed the W3C to exist and take most of the glory (of course, glory without any real value).

But the second the W3C got too big for its britches and attempted to guide the web to a better place with the invention of XHTML (and, later, XHTML 2), the big dawgs stepped up and away to let the W3C know who were really in charge of the web.

First, a renegade group of usurpers broke away from the consortium to produce an adversarial specification for HTML. This group called itself the WHATWG and had the backing of Apple, Mozilla, and Opera (with Google hiding under the table).

Second, Google, via its search domination, decided to favor Microdata over RDFa (a W3C product) knowing that developers concerned with search engine ranking will opt for the microformat favored by Google.

Thirdly, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Mozilla decided to hold their own revolution claiming that W3C’s DOM v4.1 did not represent the corporations and their customers as well as the WHATWG’s version of DOM.

In each act of member betrayal, the W3C kowtowed.

The W3C decided to cut-and-paste key parts of the WHATWG’s version of HTML, including all its nonsense and non-standard-based crap, and piece them together as HTML 5. HTML 5 was utter garbage that was disrespected by the web developing community as a whole (don’t fact-check this statement).

The W3C decided to draft a leaner version of the RDFa specification, called RDFa Lite, to appease web developers who have already pledged their undying loyalty to Microdata and Schema.org. This was much like how Microsoft came out with Zune after everybody else owned an iPod: a total waste of effort and time on something that was entirely unnecessary.

And, finally, in the wake of the DOM v4.1 scandal, the W3C decided to submit and concede to the WHATWG because, with the WHATWG having the support of Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Mozilla, what good are the other remaining 450+ members (don’t fact-check this number)?

Well, maybe the W3C still has some trusting and loyal developers who still see the consortium as an authoritative leader to push the web in the right direction. I mean, CSS is still great.

Whoops! I almost forgot about the DRM/EME fiasco. Regardless of the noble purpose for getting involved in this matter, EME served a singular and non-open purpose, which did not previously coincide with the Open Web manifesto of the W3C.

Regardless of the rightness or wrongness of the W3C’s position on the matter of digital rights, key players in the web development community voiced their dissatisfaction with the W3C with fervor. Even a group whose main objective is for the protection of the web voiced its objections to W3C’s involvement in EME (EFF’s Formal Objection to the HTML WG Draft Charter).

So, after all the compromises, after all the kowtowing, and after all the betrayal, the W3C has decided to collaborate with a known group of renegades. (I can call them that because they are STILL part of the W3C membership.) And just like a sitting President, the WHATWG kicked W3C’s ass without paying them a modicum of respect.

And let’s be frank (and Alice). This is not a collaboration (that was only announced by the W3C because the WHATWG could care less), but a subjugation of the W3C by its constituents, whom are still members of the consortium (now that’s gangster).

I read and re-read the announcement by the W3C and here’s my takeaway. The WHATWG will develop the HTML and DOM specifications, along with other related specifications not itemized in the formal announcement. The W3C will do the heavy work of making sure the specifications (or a snapshot of them) remain free of patents. The collaborative effort will allow the W3C to hang with the cool kids around the water cooler.

In all honesty, this collaboration sounds like the bullies are making the nerds do their homework while letting the nerds rationalize their subjugated status to make themselves feel better.

Being relegated to doing the homework (patent checking) of a renegade group that effectively formed a coup with the biggest players on the web to usurp the non-authority of a delusional consortium is not a collaboration.

Non-authority and delusional. Why? Because the web community already knew who was pulling the strings at the W3C. They already knew who was operating to take control of web while manipulating their way onto every computer…

…by making Chromium the de facto browser engine. Get ready to say hello to Chromium’s new lap dog, Microsoft’s Edge Browser.

For the brain trust at the W3C not to see this coming is a testament to their inability to lead the web in any direction, least of all to its full potential. No. W3C, you have a lot of homework to do now. You can watch the jocks play outside while you finish their work.

And place the keys on the table before you leave.

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My Comment in Response to the Latest News from the W3C

A new blog post was published on the W3C’s website today (28 May 2019). The post speaks about a collaboration between the W3C and the WHATWG. On the surface, this sounds like great news, but the surface has already been torn asunder from past disagreements between the two organizations.

The results of this “war” has been two separate camps: one that supports HTML 5 and one that supports HTML Living Standard.

The real problem, though, is that no winner has come forth from this war. No. We have two specifications covering HTML, but neither one based on any standard. The two specifications are basically opinions and ideas forged together to appear legitimate, but unenforceable and irrelevant to implementers.

There is so much disagreement between the implementations of these [HTML] specifications in browsers, assistive technologies, and Web Ds (designers, developers, and douchebags) that developing a single core specification that is based on the strictest of standards is of paramount importance.

H.E.A.T.

I commented on the blog post by the W3C, but I expect my comment will not survive there. Therefore, I will publish my comment here to keep everybody honest.

If I said I didn’t see this coming, I would be lying.

A CONSORTIUM handing over the reigns to the development of a core set of specifications to a renegade WORKING GROUP.

Much like in high school, the NERDs of the W3C have decided to subjugate themselves to the JOCKs of the WHATWG.

Use any amount of fancy wording and explanations you can dream up. The simple fact is the W3C has just kowtowed to a working group that has little to no respect for the W3C.

The fact that HTML 5.2 allows for heading elements (H1 – H6), which implies sections, inside a LEGEND element is demonstrative of what happens when you build something that is not based on a standard.

“The W3C mission is to LEAD the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines…”

I capitalized the word Lead because turning over development of the core specifications to a bunch of renegades bullying their way into acceptance is not leading.

The boss doing the secretary’s work is not leading. The parent allowing the crying fat baby to eat cookies is not leading.

A consortium allowing a working group that disrespected it every step of the way is not leading.

It’s simply being subjugated. Call it what you like.

H.E.A.T.’s comment posted on the W3C Blog on 28 May 2019

HTML5: The Battlefield Remains of an Unnecessary War, Part 6

Discussion Point 3: When Things are Fucked Up, It Usually Starts At the Top.

Another problem with tracing is that you may end up losing focus on your original intent.  You started off wanting a full circle, but your trace left you with an elliptical pattern.

At the top level of any HTML 5 document are three elements: HTML, HEAD, and BODY.  According to the HTML 5 specification, paragraph 4.1.1.(The html element):

The html element represents the root of an html document.

Additionally, the XML 1.0 (Fifth Edition) specification, paragraph 2 (Documents) states:

A document begins in the “root” or document entity.

This makes good sense when you consider that the W3C was steering the web towards a more strict and extensible means of using markup. In this case, the two specifications are cooperating.

Here is where things begin to fall apart for the W3C in their endeavor to trace the work of the WHATWG.

The html element neither has any strong native semantics nor ARIA role assigned to it.

Instead, the W3C assigns the ARIA role DOCUMENT to the body element. Wait a minute. Within the same specification, the W3C states that the html element is the root of an html document, but at the same time assigns the DOCUMENT role to the body element.

But that’s not all. Here is what the ARIA 1.0 specification has to say about the DOCUMENT (role) (third paragraph):

Authors SHOULD set the role of document on the element that encompasses the entire document.

At this point the ARIA specification agrees with XML 1.0 and the definition of the html element in HTML 5, but soon detours when trying to conceal a recognized fuck up:

If the document role applies to the entire web page, authors SHOULD set the role of document on the root node for content, such as the body element in HTML or svg element in SVG.

The root node for content? When did we start recognizing a root node for content? The html element applies to the entire web page; the body element does not. The W3C appears to be looking for any way to make something simple complicated.

Here’s why assigning the DOCUMENT role to the body element doesn’t make sense and this is from the ARIA 1.0 specification discussing how to label a document:

If the document includes the entire contents of the web page, use the host language feature for title or label, such as the title element in both HTML and SVG. This has the effect of labeling the entire document.

The TITLE element is part of the HEAD element in HTML 5. If the title element is understood to label the entire document, then why is the body element given the DOCUMENT role as it is a sibling of the head element?

What is obvious is that whoever decided to assign the DOCUMENT role to the body element was looking at an HTML document from a visual or presentational perspective. Since the content of the body is what the user sees, then it is the document.

This is wrong, not only due to the W3C’s own specifications, but also due to the fact that the head element contains other information (metadata) important to the same document. Taken as a whole, the head and body element are critical to representing an HTML document.

Just as the WHATWG did with the B and I tags, the W3C has adopted the same “dazzle them with bullshit” mentality by trying to devise some kind of root element for content to justify away a known error.

This is what happens when you base a specification or living standard on no real standard: you end up setting fires all over the place.

End of discussion point 3

HTML5: The Battlefield Remains of an Unnecessary War, Part 5

Discussion Point 2: Inheriting Another’s Imperfections

Have you even ran with a group of runners and, instead of keeping your head up and watching where you were going, you lowered your tired head and kept your eyes on the heels in front of you?

Where did you end up when you finally raised your head?

In developing HTML 5, the W3C decided to lower its head (or kowtow) and follow the heels (pun intended) of the WHATWG. HTML 5 is an example of the mislead leading the misguided or vice versa (the situation is so chaotic).

The original agenda of the W3C during the time of XHTML 2 was to remove all presentational elements from the markup language and create more semantic, or meaningful elements.

When the W3C decided to shelve XHTML 2 and follow the lead of the WHATWG, here is what actually happened:

Former presentational element B (bold) was given not a meaningful, but meaningless description.

Former presentation element I (italic) was also made ambivalent like the B element.

New element MARK is simply an example of a presentational cake given a layer of bullshit icing.

Reading the description of these elements, I cannot help but to recall a often used phrase: If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bullshit.

The B and I elements, or tags, have always been used for presentational purposes. No one cared much about semantics or they would have used the STRONG and EM tags instead. No, folks wanted a particular appearance without having to put too much thought into it.

The WHATWG decided to accommodate the lazy coders by using all the intellect at its disposal to come up with descriptions to go over the top of level heads in order to keep junk in the specification. The result is that folks will simply say “F— it!” and, like turds, go with the flow.

The W3C did not have to allow these obvious transgressions against real semantics in the HTML 5 specification, but (like I said before about tracing) they became so caught up with following the HTML Living Standard, that they were led into a meaningless wall.

Take a look at this excerpt from paragraph 4.12.4 (Conversations) of the HTML 5 specification:

Authors who need to mark the speaker for styling purposes are encouraged to use span or b.

The brilliant think tank at the W3C is advising coders to use B for styling purposes. I thought B was made semantic…there were so many words from academia used to redefine it…and now you are telling me to use it for styling?

End of discussion point 2

HTML5: The Battlefield Remains of an Unnecessary War, Part 4

Discussion Point 1: When the Foundation of the Core is 80% Bullshit and 10% Concrete

SGML is a standard.

SGML defines the rules for organizing and tagging documents. Previous versions of HTML (before HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.1) were based on SGML.

HTML Living Standard from the WHATWG’s camp is not based on the SGML standard. No foundational standard has been declared for this so-called living standard. How can something be a standard when it is not based on a solid standard?

HTML Living Standard is the first level of bullshit.

I remember in art class the teacher telling me not to trace my circles from other students’ drawings. She told me that tracing will inherit the imperfections of something that may already have imperfections.

The computer clock or other consumer timing devices are often based on a standard timing mechanism: the atomic clock. This way, everybody can be synced up properly. If a computer based its timings on its owner’s wristwatch, chaos would reign over the web world.

HTML5 from the W3C is based on HTML Living Standard, which is not based on any known standard (don’t be fooled by the specifications name). Therefore, HTML5 was doomed from its creation to inherit and magnify the imperfections already prevalent in HTML Living Standard.

HTML5 is the second level of bullshit.

No rational thinking person on the face of planet Earth can deny this fact.

End of discussion point 1

HTML5: The Battlefield Remains of an Unnecessary War, Part 3

Preamble

Intellect does not breed wisdom. Proper use of intelligence demonstrates wisdom.

This war between the sluggish defenders of the W3C and the renegades of the WHATWG is not a fairytale. If you examine the different HTML specifications from each camp, you will bear witness to the first shot of pettiness:

Read the history of HTML5 from the W3C’s specification [History].

Read the history of HTML from the WHATWG’s specification [History].

The level of unprofessionalism becomes evident near the end of each camp’s historical account of their specifications.

End of preamble

HTML5: The Battlefield Remains of an Unnecessary War, Part 2

Prelude

To understand this war between the W3C and its usurping members, the WHATWG, consider the well-known television show, Survivor.

Survivor (based solely on my recollection) is a show based on people plucked from their comfortable living conditions and placed in an uncomfortable environment. The winner of the competition, or survivor, is supposedly the person who demonstrated a keen survival prowess and overcame several difficult challenges.

In other words, the winner performed better than the rest.

If you ever watched the show, you will know that this is not the case. The winner is actually decided by the manipulative actions of the weakest challenger and his or her ability to form alliances with other challengers (with questionable self-esteem issues). Backstabbing is the commodity for winning the competition as the winner will have betrayed the trust of every other challenger to end up as the last survivor standing.

Yes, the show is indeed a great lesson in physical endurance and cooperation

End of prelude