Dave Hyatt’s been talking about the extensions that the Webcore team at Apple has made to support some of the new tech in next year’s OS X release, Tiger. This caused a bit of a stir, as a few people saw in this the potential of a return to the bad old days (circa 1996-7) of browser vendors adding extensions to HTML willy-nilly for competitive advantage.
The Webcore team is apparently listening to this feedback and are exploring ways of adding these extensions in a non-disruptive fashion. Towards the end of one of his posts, Hyatt makes a statement that fascinates me:
Going forward, I’m curious what the reaction will be as WHAT-WG works to further extend HTML. Assuming that the W3C has really decreed HTML4 to be obsolete, what happens when a proposal is made by multiple browser vendors to extend it? If the W3C rejects it, should the browser vendors be forced to keep their content namespaced forever? I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
It’s pretty obvious what’s happened here. The WHAT-WG has basically been forced to fork HTML, as the W3C has moved on to other horizons and isn’t really doing anything with the 97 percent of the web that’s already here. One hopes that the W3C will be open to a merge of the forks down the road, but, if they don’t, I think it’s obvious what happens next.
Consider well the proportions of things. It is better to be a young June-bug
than an old bird of paradise.
— Mark Twain, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar”