Comic Update: The HTML5 Rocket and Last Call

November 10, 2009

Today’s comic is a week or so late to be timely, but I think it’s still topical. It showcases the squirrel about to be launched on a rocket that Hixie insists has reached an appropriate state, even if it seems everyone else degrees.

As you’re likely familiar with my opinion on this topic, I think you can predict the results.

On October 27, 2009, Ian “Hixie” Hickson, editor-for-life of HTML5 (yes, my bias is showing) decided that there were
“no outstanding emails or bugs on the spec”, and flipped the switch on the spec declaring it in Last Call. Just in time to meet the October deadline. Hooray!

As it stands, his status flip may be premature. Or, perhaps, his viewpoint of reality. If you look at the W3C’s HTML issue tracker, you can see it’s got a lot left on it. In response to comments about this difference between the W3C and WHATWG on whether HTML5 had actually reached Last Call, Ian commented “…we have different issues lists and different criteria for going to Last Call.”

Looking at what’s left to resolve, it’d seem the difference in criteria is that the W3C would prefer the job was done properly, as opposed to being done quickly.

I’m inclined to agree with Shelley’s thoughts. Maybe Ian is trying to reassert some control. Maybe he just isn’t concerned with issues like providing unsighted web users with the information they need to understand tables on a website. Either way, it creates the appearance of a move meant to serve himself, not others.

That’s not a reassuring quality to see in our leviathan.

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3 Responses to “Comic Update: The HTML5 Rocket and Last Call”

  1. It’s horrible when standards groups have to meet a deadline. I assume they’ll still be able to fix some of those bugs in Last Call? The idea of the HTML5 spec being left incomplete for the entire life of the ‘version’ leaves me worried.

    Really, the way things are going these days, versions should come after the fact (like Web 2.0). Just add this or that as needed, once the individual pieces (such as Canvas) are thought up agreeably.

  2. While I don’t agree with everything that Ian says, I do appreciate that the open web is being held back by the absence of up-to-date standards and commend him for pressing forward with the spec despite all the politics. I’d much rather see HTML5 being delivered in time to be relevant than for single-vendor proprietary technology like AIR and Silverlight to fill in the gap. To that end those who insist on standing in the way of progress would want to have good reason for doing so.


    PS: I don’t know the guy but implying that he doesn’t care about blind people because there’s an open issue is weaksauce.

  3. @Sam – I would never, ever propose using Silverlight, AIR or any of their ilk. I also don’t believe that one man’s view of “progress” is automatically “progress” because he calls it so. Therefore, opposing his view is not “standing in the way of progress.” For him (or anyone else) to insist otherwise is plain and simple hubris.

    Now, if I were saying he didn’t care about blind users simply because of him ignoring an open issue, it would be weaksauce. Instead, I ask you to consider the virtual paper trail about his interaction with the accessibility community for well over a year on a large number of topics. I’d say, concern or otherwise, he is at the bare minimum not addressing the issues they face in a way that will be useful.