Open Web Platform Weekly Summary – 2011-08-30 – 2011-09-11

In my tracking of the Open Web Platform for writing the weekly summary, I decided to be a bit more careful on what is happening on the HTML WG bug tracker. A lot of the discussion is happening there too. The biggest issue being the number of useless comments or spam.

Internationalization (I18N)

The I18N Core Working Group has raised an issue about the HTML5 definition of quotes property. The default property should be defined by the language of the text and not by the locale of the browsers.

Web Architecture

Tim Berners-Lee explains the architectural decision on why fragment identifiers are not sent to the server when they are deferenced.

Accessibility (A11y)

Laura Carlson proposed to change example on how the article element is used. In HTML5 examples, the article element contains heading and nav elements. She is proposing to reserve the article for pure content in a way which enable screen readers to jump directly to the content avoiding navigation elements.

HTML Markup

Shaun Moss wants to propose a comment element for blog posts. A long discussion started.


Eric Muller (Adobe) has sent to the Unicode Consortium a proposal to develop a Unicode property and algorithm to support Japanese layout. Japanese can be written horizontally or vertically and it is important to be able to determine the orientation of the characters in vertical lines.

HTML5 Forms have client side validation with error messages. The tooltip is browser dependant and varies widely in style. Peter Gasston is proposing to add new properties for styling these form validation messages.

Peter Lins (HP) announced the new CSS Test Suite Management System.


Aryeh Gregor (Google) would like to extend the selection property in the DOM for allowing more than one creating the possibility of buffering, manipulating, deleting them. He also proposed to remove the multiple ranges selection. This property allows to select a piece of text in a Web page and then holding the command key to select another part of the text without having to do two operations. Only Firefox currently implements this feature.

Ryosuke Niwa (Google) needs events that fire before/after user editing action and execCommand take place. He proposed the name beforeEditAction and afterEditAction.

Dominic Cooney (Google, Chromium) wants a way to register new elements not necessary described in the specification. For example, it could work doing something ala

HTMLElement.register('x-contacts', ContactPicker);

The first argument is an element name. The second is a constructor function, whose prototype property points to an object which introduces the API for contacts (eg a refresh method) and is wired up to HTMLElement.prototype.

Anne van Kesteren (Opera) notes that its the backdoor to introduce proprietary markup on the Web. The fallback behavior in absence of scripting is another issue. The discussion is still going on.

Anne van Kesteren (Opera) has removed the entity references from DOM Core (DOM4) and then it modifies the HTML5 specification. Entity references were enabling the creation of markup constructs in the doctype. It introduces a lot of complexities in the management of DOM Nodes.

Kentaro Hara (Google) has requested HashChangeEvent constructor to make all events constructable as well a PageTransitionEvent constructor. It has been integrated right away in HTML5 specification.

Boris Zbarsky (Mozilla) notes that Gecko, WebKit and Presto have three different implementations of window.XMLDocument. There are discussions going on how it should be properly specced still taking into account the differences of implementations across browsers and the interoperability issues on legacy code.

Graphics (Canvas, WebGL, …)

Charles Pritchard (Jumis) needs a baseline property on the TextMetrics object from Canvas 2d. The baseline corresponds to the vertical offset of the anchor point.

var t = ctx.measureText('text span');
t == { width: int, baseline: int };

David Geary proposes the creation of two new methods in canvas 2D: Path getPath(), which would return a path object representing the context’s current path, and setPath(Path), which would set the current path. That would make it easier to drag objects on a path.


Three Last Call Working Draft documents, Performance Timeline, User Timing, Resource Timing, have been published. The deadline of comments on the first two documents is September 22 and Resource Timing is September 15.

Protocol (HTTP, XHR2, …)

To avoid having to rebuild mime messages from scratch, Charles Pritchard (Jumis) would like to extend FormData object. He is taking example in the Picasa developer guide on posting photos and a code example:

var callback = function(blob) { xhr.send(blob); };
formData.toBlob(callback, 'multipart/form-data');

Julian Reschke () has rewritten the HTTPbis Working Draft to add information about the history of HTTP Redirection (3xx)

Joel Martin wanted to be able to detect if the connection allows for binary data transmission in Websockets. Simon Pieters (Opera) proposed to use the already existing binaryType.

var binarySupported = typeof WebSocket.prototype.binaryType != 'undefined';

It seems that chrome implementation is incomplete creating interoperability issues. It might be fixed in future versions.


This week, the theme of Anne Van Kesteren’s report is Parsing APIs.

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