Open Web Platform Weekly Summary - 2013-01-13 - 2013-01-20

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The last Openweb Platform Weekly Summary was too long ago. Let's restart. Your feedback is important. If you would like to see different type of information, or topics explained in more depth, just ask me in the comments. And if you think, I have forgotten about something essential, add it in the comments.

<main> element in HTML5.1

There has been long discussions last year on adding a new element <main> to HTML for defining the area of a document which contains the main information outside of menus, footers, etc. Steve Faulkner worked hard on defining, testing, implementing, receiving the feedback of implementers. It is now pulled inside the specification edited by Robin Berjon.

Streams API

The Web is asynchronous. A client makes a request. The server sends a response. The state of the data exchanged is usually not modified during that transaction. There are many circumstances when exchanging data between a client and a server may require a stream of data being built, created over time. The Streams API is an attempt at answering such use case on top of File API, XMLHttpRequest, postMessage, and Web Workers.

Web Intents Addendum - Local Services

Web Intents is a mechanism for service discovery and gives the possibility for Web applications to communicate in between them. It becomes possible for someone adding a photo in a Web email to change the colors through the actions of another photo editing Web app. It then becomes essential to be able to discover what are the local services available, for example using UPnP. Imagine being able to shut off the sound of the IP radio station on your local network when you receive a voice over IP phone call. Web Intents Addendum - Local Services defines how to handle these communications.

CSS Cascade

The cascade in CSS is the mechanism by which an element in the DOM inherits CSS properties. With the evolution of CSS, it is becoming quite complex. With multiple stylesheets it is common to have conflicts which need to be solved. The CSS Cascade specification defines how values are propagated for all properties on all elements.

Vendor Prefixes and shims

There was an interesting discussion on the conflict between vendor prefixes and shims. A shim is a way to create a piece of JavaScript to cope for the inconsistencies between different implementations of the same feature. Florian Bösch was addressing specifically the issue with pointerLock. Boris Zbarsky gave information about the new policy at Mozilla on vendor prefixes.

For what it's worth, the current trend inside Mozilla is exactly what you say: avoiding vendor prefixes by either turning things off before shipping or shipping them unprefixed if they're stable enough. At least as a general policy; specific cases might merit exceptions.

Canvas API with even-odd winding rule fills

James Ascroft-Leigh noted that the canvas API was missing an essential feature:

I recently discovered that a common and well understood 2D graphics operation is not supported by the 2D canvas API even though it is supported by almost every other modern 2D graphics API. This missing feature is called even-odd fill and controls how the fill region is calculated for self-intersecting paths or enclosed subpaths.

It has been added


Anne van Kesteren is working hard on defining how the URL should be implemented in user agents.


The W3C Technical Architecture Group helps coordinate cross-technology architecture developments inside and outside W3C. A part of the Web community was not very happy with the work of the TAG. To change things by action, they proposed candidates who got elected. Welcome to Marcos Caceres (Unaffiliated), Yehuda Katz (jQuery Foundation), Alex Russell (Google), and Anne van Kesteren (Unaffiliated). You can follow and participate to the discussions of the TAG.

This column is written by Karl Dubost.

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