… then they call you names….

From the ongoing WhatWG HTML5 IRC chat:

# # [07:31] hsivonen: pasting some URLs for to have a record in the log:
# # [07:32] hsivonen: http://twitter.com/jdowdell/status/1608188445
# # [07:32] hsivonen: http://twitter.com/jdowdell/status/1352144527
# # [07:32] hsivonen: http://twitter.com/jdowdell/status/1344855975
# # [07:32] hsivonen: http://twitter.com/jdowdell/status/1464529893
# # [07:32] hsivonen: (end of flood)
# # [07:34] * othermaciej: is not sure he gets the theme there
# # [07:34] hsivonen” seems like jd considers the variability of HTML runtimes a problem, so I guess HTML5 should err on the side off well-defined behavior
# # [07:46] othermaciej: oh you’re quoting the Adobe trollblogger?
# # [07:52] hsivonen: othermaciej, I’m quoting the Adobe Flash blogger who seems to blog a lot about HTML these days
# # [07:57] MikeSmith: johnny one-note
# # [07:57] othermaciej: hsivonen, after reading some of his recent posts, I stand by my prior assertion
# # [08:04] othermaciej: yeah, he’s basically Adobe’s Asa Dotzler
# # [08:09] MikeSmith: another possible competitor in this race –
# # [08:09] MikeSmith: http://twitter.com/mattmay/status/1884053829
# # [08:10] MikeSmith: but I think he’ll need to try harder than that if he really wants to win it
# # [08:10] othermaciej: it makes Adobe look sad and desparate to try to fight against HTML having more features
# # [08:12] Hixie: i don’t think matt is fighting html having more features in that twitter
# # [08:13] Hixie: since leaving the w3c would make progress on html5 far quicker and easier
# # [08:13] Hixie: if anything, he’s fighting _for_ html having more features
# # [08:14] othermaciej: I wonder why John likes the catchphrase “browser brands” so much
# # [08:14] othermaciej: why does he say that instead of “browsers”? is that an Adobe thing?
# # [08:17] hsivonen: othermaciej, the impression I get is that he wants to portray browsers as different chrome designs
# # [08:17] othermaciej: but wouldn’t that portray the engines as essentially interchangeable?
# # [08:17] othermaciej: which is contrary to his point?
# # [08:17] hsivonen: othermaciej, I suppose
# # [08:18] hsivonen: othermaciej, although I think the point is that you pick your favorite toolbar and run Flash in the space below it
# # [08:18] othermaciej: ah
# # [08:22] othermaciej_: “browser brand” is not a very common phrase outside his blog
# # [08:22] othermaciej_: but yeah I can see how he might want to take the “browsers are just Flash loaders” position

“hsivonen” is Henri Sivonen, who may still be associated with Mozilla… “othermaciej” is Maciej Stachowiak, employed by Apple… “Hixie” is Ian Hickson, once from Netscape, then Opera, now Google.

(Thanks to (the often needlessly foulmouthed ;-) Mr. LastWeekInHTML5 for extracting the above bit from the public-yet-pragmatically-inaccessible IRC chat.)

I’m not “a troll” for asking inconvenient questions. Let me rephrase just a few of the major outstanding ones:

  1. How do you propose that these RIA features in the hypertext spec should actually work out in the world? VIDEO tag seems like it will fail with codec ambiguity. HTML is intrinsically a “Let’s Use Microsoft Runtimes!” kind of scene. How can you specify the syntax for new features, without any realistic plan for making these features possible in the real world?
  2. If you’re actually seeking browser support for patent-unencumbered codecs, expanded local storage, drawing engines and such, then why aren’t you making plugins for other browsers? If it’s because “plugins are not first-class citizens in the browser”, then improve your plugin support and cross-browser homogeneity so that they are. At the very least your VIDEO tag plan must take advantage of existing video support out there in the world. Why has Google Gears been allowed to languish? Why isn’t a CANVAS ActiveX Control seriously discussed? Why do you let an anti-plugin prejudice spoil you to the possibilities for increasing your own success?
  3. How are you really helping content developers reach their audiences? The only benefit VIDEO tag seems to bring is to browser vendors who wish to fragment web video into their own proprietary silos. Ten years ago DHTML powerplays fragmented browser support, and it was content developers who have been paying the cost ever since. It’s good that the current spec will clarify past hypertext ambiguities. But introducing vast new realms of ambiguity does not help. How is this HTML5 proposal actually helping creators reach their audiences, out in the real world?

(For some of the IRC content: My tweets on twitter.com make sense if you try to use that UI — each refresh brings back a different set of Ajaxy interactions. A “troll” is someone who uses the anonymity possible on the Internet to harass others — it is not someone who takes named responsibility for asking reasonable questions. “Browser brands” refers to the multiple HTML engines consumers might choose: Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, Opera, and Google — they differ in their capabilities. Browsers are not “just Flash loaders”… hypertext browsers are vital and unique tools, and we all hope they remain as such.)

Reasonable questions, no matter how difficult, deserve answers. Raising such questions does not deserve namecalling. And namecalling… does not persuade.