The H.E.A.T. Exchange

Free thoughts from the mind of the Anomalous One

This Has Nothing to Do with the Pandemic

Back in the early days of the web, things were a mess.

This was not a bad thing. Things were a mess because the web was a new platform for exploring new ideas. A lot of people jumped on the web and pieced together some fun sites that were the talk of the town.

Yes, there were no solid standard or convention on how sites should look or “feel”, but regular users didn’t mind. As long as they could click something and something happened, they were happy. Uploading a photo may have taken a day or two, but at least you could see it once it was uploaded.

Regular users didn’t much care for the underpinning conventions of a site. They simply wanted to congregate and have fun engaging in whatever nonsense the web or site had to offer.

As expansive as the web was, so too were the number of sites where regular users could socialize. Sharing was free and fun. People shared photos and, later, videos of themselves without a second thought. Why? Because it was fun.

The web was a platform where no authority figure was present to tell you what you can and what you can’t do. Yes, this may have made for some shady and terrible interpersonal experiences, but those were edge cases compared to the number of people using the web.

Sites were being built and taken live almost daily. There were no shortage of users available for these sites. Why? Because the millions of members one site may have can also become members of the latest and greatest up and comer. Indeed, if it was built, they came.

Sites were designed to be different and expressive of the designers intent. There were no imperative to follow another’s lead in designing a site. Just imagine what you want and build it the way you like. The outcome was a plethora of sites catering to the wants and desires of millions of regular users.

The sites may not have been the best built or faux standard compliant, but regular users didn’t look under the hood to care. They remained on the surface and did what they enjoyed doing, which was mindlessly having fun. It was the virtual world. There was no real need to take anything seriously.

That is, until entities appeared to tell you to take it seriously.

I don’t care if you have a million members who visit your site daily and are having fun. Until your sites meets OUR standards and best practices, we will use our vast network of concerned web zealots and evangelists to condemn you at every opportunity.

Then the big dawgs showed up.

If you don’t use our middle-man tech to analyze your site’s traffic, or present the information on your sites in a way that pleases us, then we will, without any real authority, tell everybody that your site has been deemed unworthy to visit.

Regular users didn’t understand any of this nor did they care. They were happy with the way things were. Standards? Standards were for automobiles, not websites. Privacy? Millions of users were uploading penis and vagina pics for millions of others to see. Do you THINK they cared about privacy? Not until someone told them they should.

Sites were being designed and enjoying huge successes way before standards, analytics, best practices, and SEO (whatever the hell that is) came into the picture. No one needed a search engine to find a site. Good sites were made known by word of mouth. Regular users were adept at typing characters in the address bar and bookmarking pages.

Then the agenda behind the madness became known to the majority of web Ds (designers, developers, and douchebags). Only a handful of startups with the deepest pockets could meet the criteria set by the self-appointed authorities of the web.

This lead to fewer websites going live and surviving online. This lead to earlier burnout of web Ds trying feverishly to keep up with the latest and greatest expectations of the web authorities, only to fail at every outing. Unless a site was patterned off an established site did any new site even hope to stand a chance at survival.

This lead to another problem: why use a site that is based off another successful site when I can simply use the successful site? Answer: there is no reason. Thus, the successful sites became bigger and acquired the money and attention needed to become even bigger. Smaller sites either faded from memory or were swallowed up by the larger more successful sites.

This was a slow process (in web terms) leaving regular users to wake up one day going, “What the hell happened to all the GOOD sites I used to use?”

Is the Web Overdue for a Major Overhaul?

The web began as a static document sharing platform. Today, millions of people use the web to share documents, photos, videos, and audio.

Not only that, the web also serves as a platform for connectivity: information from digital devices is constantly transmitted over the web for purposes only limited by the imagination.

Is the Web of Things (WoT) going to be a game changer?

Nope, but it will make use of the web in a way that will place a huge demand on traffic and stimulate innovative ways to make more use of the web platform.

The web is already populated by computer networks and people. Now, imagine the many devices and sensors the WoT will introduce. Yes, that’s a lot of IP addresses, to say the least.

Is the need for web security the same as it was at the beginning of the web?

Nope. A lot has changed. Primarily, since billions of people use the web for whatever reasons, the appeal to commit nefarious and illegal acts against these people and their businesses is far greater than could ever have been imagined by the originators of the web.

Security threats has even taken on a national or governmental flavor; making the need for heightened security efforts a key aspect of everyday life. The threat is real as well as the harm that’s been caused by web attackers.

Doesn’t advanced technology suppose to make things better for the web?

Yes, but it doesn’t. The reason being is new technology focuses on corporate needs and not the real need for a better web for all. The web is a global phenomenon. It’s a platform that bridges the communication gaps across nations.

To improve the web, one must assess it from a purely objective standpoint with no influence from personal or corporate agenda. The web is an agnostic platform, or it should be.

Hey! Wouldn’t disrupting the current web break backwards compatibility and, thereby, break the web?

Yep.

Aren’t you being a bit smug about breaking the web?

Nope. There are thousands of Web D’s (designers, developers, and douchebags). These Web D’s want to be seen as professionals, although most of them forego professionalism for the sake of convenience, IMHO.

Still, coordinating the breaking of the web (due to backward incompatibility issues arising from overhauling the web) with the procurement of these many Web D’s by the agencies that will be affected by it is not that difficult of a task.

If you give a damn, that is.

Well, Mr. Know-it-all, how would you go about overhauling the web?

I don’t know.

Then again, I never claimed to be a Web D, a professional, nor a steward of the web. I have read many articles from those making this claim who support everything I’ve written in this post in one way or another.

Years of dancing around this issue has brought us to this point in society where the web has become a tool controlled by adversarial agents (actors) instead of the people.

Or do we need another great war to destroy everything, like in Germany, in order to start fresh and get it right?

Do we need aliens to destroy our planet over and over, like in the Futurama cartoon, in order to rebuild the web and do it right?

Professionals ought to be able to make difficult decisions without the need for anger, violence, or societal destruction to get things right. Stewards ought to have the courage to communicate real need for change and not just parrot the agenda of their corporate masters.

Firefighters do not stand inside the flames and attempt to put out fires. They stand outside the flames in order to get an overall picture. They strategize their next move based on this objective (because their asses aren’t on fire) perspective. They do what is needed to get the job done.

This is a real professional approach and should be used to do what is necessary for the future of the web.

W3C: Why Put Forth the Effort?

The reigns of control for developing HTML has been given to the renegades at WHATWG.

At some point in May of 2019, W3C decided to kowtow to WHATWG in what was basically the WHATWG misappropriating the core specification of the web: HTML.

Why?

WHATWG didn’t like the direction the stewards of the web (as professed), W3C (under the direction of the web’s creator, Tim Berners-Lee (TBL)), was taking HTML. W3C wanted to push an XML-variant of HTML known as XHTML.

Grievances to this proposed move included the idea that XHTML would add more markup to pages. Though this was technically correct, in the same way 5 is more that 2, the amount of markup added to pages by using XHTML was not great.

What does add to page weight are third-party scripts and libraries where only a small portion is used by developers but require end users to download. What does add to page weight is the copious markup added to pages to appease the SEO masters and Google, et al.

Have you ever taken a close look into the HEAD section of web pages? Good grief. All this extra SEO cruft that has little to no benefit to the end user who has to download (and sometimes pay for) it.

Oh, but, for some, the small amount of markup added by using XHTML to make pages more professional and easier to parse with simple tools, like Simple XML and XPath, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

At the end of the day, whatever form of markup used doesn’t matter. Browsers determine what will work and what will not work. Still, this is not the point, now, is it?

The point is that the professed stewards of the web, W3C, operating under the web’s creator, TBL, decided to surrender the web’s first-born child, HTML, to a narrow-minded group of non-forward-thinking yay-hoos at WHATWG. W3C had the right plan: push XHTML and RDFa to make web pages not only more consumable, but extensible as well.

Now, W3C has subjugated itself to doing the leg work for the WHATWG with regards to HTML. What would happen if the W3C disagrees with anything WHATWG wants to do with HTML? Would WHATWG seek the authoritative guidance of W3C?

I don’t think so. POP! WHATWG don’t play that.

WHATWG would simply stay true to form and do what they did in their previous disagreement: take their basketball and go home. This meaningless “memorandum of understanding” is a unilateral agreement that only benefits WHATWG. W3C only made this agreement to feel significant in the development of HTML, but no one cares, especially WHATWG and Google.

W3C is constantly singing praises about the effect of this agreement, though you will read nothing…and I mean NOTHING, about it or W3C within WHATWG’s blog.

Why?

Simple. WHATWG doesn’t give a fuck about W3C.

Regarding the W3C’s Consideration for the Use of Frameworks in its Website’s Redesign

I recently read a post on the W3C’s blog: W3C Website redesign: Choosing a front end framework.

I left the comment below that I’ll assume WILL NOT get approved by the blog’s moderators.

This is one of the BIGGEST issues I have with the W3C and it’s bold claim of leading the web to its full potential.

Why is the W3C considering the use of frameworks in the re-design of its website?

Currently, the web has a problem with heavy pages. Some websites are demanding that visitors download megabytes of code; most of which have no benefit to the visitor or even the actual web page itself.

Why wouldn’t the W3C use its own technologies (HTML 5 XML-syntax, CSS, ARIA, SVG, etc.) in their rawest, or vanilla, forms to re-build their website?

This effort may be challenging, but it would give the W3C a unique opportunity to dog food their tech to uncover areas that my warrant a re-look or improvement.

W3C, a decade ago, wanted to push XHTML 2.0. Now it has a chance to do it with its own website using HTML 5 (XML-syntax) served with the proper mime-type.

RDFa is yet another area the W3C could lead the way. Is RDFa even a worthwhile endeavor for other websites to use if the W3C will not even use it in favor of the quick and easy use of frameworks?

The W3C should position itself as the mature authority for the web. Let the lazy programmers and the web jocks take their shortcuts with frameworks.

Re-designing the W3C website without the use of frameworks enables a lean website and demonstrates a responsible attitude towards reducing heavy pages on the web. Why wouldn’t a leader of the web want to do this?

Stop trying to hang out with the WHATWG and the other cool kids around the water cooler, grab your pipes, and start doing the right thing by pushing the web in the direction it needs to go.

How come at every opportunity to do the RIGHT thing, the W3C opts to do the WRONG thing?

First, the consortium removed the standardizing component (SGML) from HTML 5. Time is based on a standard. Weights and measures are based on standards.

And yet, the W3C allowed bullying tactics to coerce it into doing the WRONG thing.

Second, the consortium got involved with Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), which conflicted with its mission statement regarding open standards. EME was an area that the W3C could have simply left to the controlling parties involved.

And yet, again, the W3C took the WRONG path and allowed financial pressure to coerce it into compromising its own philosophies.

Third, the consortium handed over the core specification of the web, HTML 5, to the renegades at the WHATWG, which had already demonstrated that moving the web forward is NOT in its purview. Instead, the WHATWG is focused on accommodating lazy programmers who have no responsibility to the web outside of their own irresponsible interests.

And yet, again and again, the W3C kowtowed to the usurpers at the WHATWG. Instead of controlling the core specification, the W3C became a secretary whose sole function is to proofread the bullshit that comes out of the WHATWG’s back side.

WRONG, WRONG, and WRONG!

Now, we have this.

The principle site for the web, the W3C’s own website, is slated to undergo a re-design, which some would think will also include a re-thinking of how to employ current W3C technologies to showcase their benefits to other web D’s (designers, developers, and douchebags).

I guess, as with other places in the world, leadership at the top level is only a figment of our imagination.

 

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

The W3C no longer leads the web (as it so brazenly states 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 to not 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 work to do now. You can watch the jocks play outside while you finish their homework.

And place the keys on the table on your way out.

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