Open Web Platform Weekly Summary – 2011-04-04 – 2011-04-10

Shelley Powers, like me, published a late weekly. We are totally in synchronization in covering the Open Web Platform weekly news from HTML5 and broader topics. I’m still a bit in the experiment mood and wondering if it is really useful to people who have no time to follow everything happening in the area.

As you may be aware, the HTML standard is co-developed by the WHATWG and the W3C. As part of this, the W3C is always looking for use cases that have not yet been properly addressed by the Web platform. Since Sam recently posted an e-mail indicating that the W3C was interested in new features for HTML, this may be a good time to remind everyone that you are also welcome to participate in the W3C mailing lists, where we discuss adding new features to the Open Web Platform. For example, at the moment we are currently discussing HTML markup, diverse APIs for the Web, and how to standardize better privacy and identity mechanisms (amongst other things).

For more information, see also the blog post on W3C community engagement, a new initiative. You may want to join the HTML WG. There is no deadline for participating; the W3C has published the Web standards continuously.

HTML Working Group Decisions

rel attribute values ownership – ISSUE-27

The rel attribute values give additional information on the purpose of a piece of text or a link, such as defining if the stylesheet is for a screen or print, or if a link represents a link to a license. Historically some of them were declared into HTML4.01 specification. These values are likely to appear and disappear quicker than the evolution of the language. It has been decided to put them in a separate registry. The question was then who should own the registry for these values. The HTML Working Group decided to defer to the Microformats community for cataloging HTML rel values. Read the decision carefully, it is long and detailed.

playback rate and video element – ISSUE-147

When playing a video, what is happening when a unsupported playback rate is requested. Should there be a way for scripts to detect this? Or it might not be possible or matters. What are the best way of exposing this information through an API? The HTML Working Group decided to adopt the change proposal stating that it is a hardware limitation and then should not be exposed via a dedicated API.

conforming u element – ISSUE-144

The u element is a controversial element for a long time on the Web. It has always existed since the first versions of HTML. It creates a line under a string of characters. Usabilitiy experts have long debated that it was likely to be mistaken with links. It is one of these very long standing issues. Should the u element be conforming or not? Conformance here means when writing or validating markup. The parsing support is another matter. It is a distinction that people often forget. The Working Group has finally decided the u element to be conforming.



  • Andreas Petersson (Opera) sent his first draft for standardizing Forwarded-For HTTP header. X-Forwarded-For is used by proxies to inform a server that the originated IP is different. It is important for personnalization of services based on IP geolocation for example.
  • Steve Faulkner proposed the subheading value for the role attribute to replace the need of the hgroup element which led to a lively discussion.


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This column is written by Karl Dubost, working in the Developer Relations & Tools at Opera Software.

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