Saving the Web #27

Tim Berners-Lee, <>

Man in black on bicyle with mobile phone by Karl Dubost

Saving the Web


(See many recent blogs)


avoiding it involves working together

Story: Cross-domain access

(Problem was: A malicious script running in a web page on your browser could access pages from inside your firewall and leak the data back to the bad guys, so access to other domains than the source of the script was blocked, but that was a pain)

2005-06 W3C starts work on access-control

2007-05 Microsoft reviews W3C spec as good

2007-12 Microsoft mentions work on alternative XHR2

2008-03 Microsoft Reveals XDR as a competitive alternative

Fragmentation: The XML-HTML tension

Cost: Two stacks. More code. Slower startup. More bugs.

XML Issues

Why namespaces anyway?

Requirement: Follow your nose

Fundamental rule and property of the web

(see earlier talks, note about the stack of specs)

Assumption: Scale-free

(See Design issues note)

Designing for the scale-free world

Optimize each level appropriately

Story: ARIA

Accessibility for Rich Web Applications

We have two (+?) working groups chartered in the HTML namespace

Story: RDFa

Story: Microformats

Motivator? Getting past the the W3C validator

Postel's maxim

Be conservative in what you produce, liberal in what you accept

A very important maxim in Internet protocol design

How has this left the web?

The conservative validator

 big step

The liberal browser

another big step

The motivating slope

A slope is better

The motivating slope

A slope is better

Extensabiliy and the Online page checkers

We need online tools which will:

Is it possible to make a unversal parser for HTML5 and XML?

Q: More resources for online tools?

Fixing web pages: Browser to-do

  1. View Source: show cleaned up source
  2. Save As: save cleaned up source
  3. This is my website -> show errors

HTML Mime type issues

Threats to XML

Should XML meet HTML halfway? XML2.0

(See Tim Bray 2002, Norm Walsh on XML2.0 in 2004, 2008),...

Threats to modularization

What it will become is what all 350 page specs become -- a 650 page spec! - J. Klensin, 19?? about something else.

Costs of lack of modularization

  1. Testing all combinations
  2. Product development time
  3. Spec development time
  4. Short supply of people who understand the spec
  5. Users learning time?

Social modularization

The first 13+ years of W3C involved a constant theme of designing a modular organization, which would design a modular system in a decentralized way. Working groups coordinate with others inside AND outside W3C, technologies fit together like a quilt and build on each other like Lego. The lack of modularization in HTML5 follows from the lack of modularization in the HTML5 group. *

Each group, whether or not in W3C, has a duty to act as a responsible peer to other groups, recognize it is part of a larger communities, and to spawn independent subgroups to do cleanly defined parts of the work when the task is big.

It takes time. There is no free consensus.

* (Fred Brooks, Mythical Man Month, structure of system follows structure of organization)

Browser profile?

Modularization though leads to fragmentation in the selection implemented.

Should we work more on user environment profiles?

The W3C Web Applications platform

Questions for Advisory Committee

  1. Priorities?
  2. Press HTML WG to be modular?
  3. Make new simpler, extensible, XML?
  4. Design for the future vs. accomodate the past?
  5. Resources for new page-checker tools?
  6. Push Web Applications hard as the future platform?