Widget spec is now Widget Specs

In an effort to expedite the standardization of widgets, the Web Application Formats Working Group yesterday decided to split the Widgets 1.0 Specification into three (or more) specs:

Other specs may also follow, particularly:

Other documents are still under development too:

We are aiming to have all these done (ie. Last Call) by October. However, now that the document split has happened, I should be able to get the packaging format done fairly quickly.

We have more or less now settled on the configuration language format. The elements are going to be:

  • <widget width=”” height=”” id=””>
    • <title: the title/name of a widget
    • <description> a description
    • <author email=”” url=””> some details about the author
    • <license> paste your GPL here! 🙂
    • <icon src=””> the icon
    • <access network=”true|false” plugins=”true|false”> if your widget need to get online
    • <content src=””> some file in the widget archive

Only <widget> and <content> are mandatory at this point.

The processing model for the XML is going to be quite forgiving. The only thing that will cause an error, is not having a well-formed document.  For example, the following the following would result in “The Awesome Super Dude Widget” as the title:

<widget xmlns="http://www.w3.org/ns/widgets">
     The <blink>Awesome</blink> 
     <author email="dude@example.com">Super Dude</author> Widget</title>

The unrecognized elements are simply ignored, but their text content is extracted. This makes processing more forgiving and allows for extensibility and some graceful degradation. I also want to push that the widget should function if the namespace is omitted.

We are also currently investigating how we are going to deal with internationalization in the configuration document format. We are looking at following ideas from the Best Practices for XML Internationalization.

WAF and WebAPI are dead. Long Live WebApps Working Group!

The charters of both  the W3C Web Application Formats and WebAPI Working Groups have now expired (as of the 15th of November, 2007) meaning they are effectively dead (although still twitching!). From their ashes will rise a new merged working group called the Web Applications Working group… hopefully by the 31 of January.

According to the new proposed charter, the missions of the new working group is to:

…is to provide specifications that enable improved client-side application development on the Web, including specifications both for application programming interfaces (APIs) for client-side development and for markup vocabularies for describing and controlling client-side application behavior.

The new Web Applications Working Group is chartered with the continual development of the following specifications:

Specification FPWD LC CR PR Rec
ClipOps spec 2007-Q2 2008-Q4 2009-Q2 2009-Q4 2010
DOM 3 Core bis spec          
DOM 3 Events spec 2007-Q2 2008-Q2 2008-Q4 2009-Q4 2010
Element Traversal spec 2007-Q2 2007-Q4 2008-Q2 2008-Q4 2008
Access Control spec 2006-Q2 2008-Q1 2008-Q3 2009-Q4 2010
File Upload spec 2007-Q2 2008-Q2 2008-Q4 2009-Q4 2010
Language Bindings spec 2007-Q2 2008-Q2 2008-Q4 2009-Q4 2010
MAXIM spec 2008-Q1 2008-Q3 2008-Q4 2009-Q2 2009
Network API spec 2008-Q2 2009-Q1 2009-Q3 2010-Q2 2010
Progress Events spec 2007-Q2 2008-Q2 2008-Q3 2009-Q2 2009
Selectors API spec 2007-Q2 2007-Q4 2008-Q2 2008-Q4 2008
XHR Object spec 2007-Q2 2008-Q2 2008-Q4 2009-Q4 2010
Widgets spec 2006-Q4 2008-Q4 2009-Q1 2009-Q3 2009-Q4
Widgets Requirements 2006-Q3 2008-Q4 2009-Q1 2009-Q3 2009-Q4
Window Object spec 2007-Q2 2008-Q2 2008-Q4 2009-Q4 2010
XBL2 spec 2006-Q2 2010 2011 2013 2013
XBL2 Primer 2007-Q3 2010 2011 2013 2013

Another cool thing about the new working group is that it is modeled on the HTML Working Group, meaning that is open, transparent (no secret chats on the members list) and anyone will be able to participate via the public mailing list.

I’ll continue to edit the Widget Spec and Requirements, and possibly continue to help out with the XBL Primer.  I’ll continue to be part of this new working group for a least 1 year, as I my PhD program ends in March 2009… and hopefully longer, if someone gives me a job to continue working on specs! 😉

HTML5 to be published by W3C

According to this email by Dan Connolly (HTML-WG chair), HTML5 will be finally published as a First Public Working Draft (FPWD) by the W3C on the 26th of Feb January 22, 2008. Microsoft has been mainly responsible about stalling the publication of HTML5 because of their concerns over <canvas> and its related graphics API. On various occasions, Microsoft argued that the graphics API was out outside the scope of the HTML WG charter and that they would have to look at the legal implications.

In the email, Dan Connolly wrote:

... and adding 3 months, we get: 2007-11-26 + 3 months = 2007-02-26
for a deadline for publication for the HTML 5 specification.

The W3C Director, Tim Berners-Lee, sees no reason why this
working group should be excused further from the three-month
heartbeat rule, and further, encourages us to publish sooner
if at all possible.

I still think it’s really disappointing that it’s going to take a further two months to publish the document. I was personally wishing it would be published for XMas (a nice present for the web community!). A FPWD is important for both marketing reasons and legal reasons: when a FPWD, all sorts of legal things in the W3C process go into effect. From a marketing perspective, it will be good as lots of media attention. However, from a technical perspective, a FPWD is irrelevant because of the rate at which HTML5 is being edited by Hixie (on a daily, if not hourly basis). The latest draft of the HTML5 document is always available to anyone either via the WHATWG site or theW3C CVS repository.

Update: In a follow-up email, Hixie sees no reason not to publish the document straight away! He writes “Cool. Since we are encouraged to publish sooner rather than later, and since there doesn’t appear to be any reason for us not to publish immediately, I have prepared the document for Working Draft publication.” If we are lucky, we might see the document published for xmas! 🙂

Update: According this post by to Anne van Kesteren, the publication wheels are now in motion: Mike(tm) Smith sent the request for publication earlier today! Now pending Chris Lilley‘s approval… will Chris be the scrooge that ruins christmas?Lets hope not.

Update: No HTML for xmas I am afraid… In this email, Mike(tm) Smith writes, “after discussion with others on the team, the target publication date I’m requesting for the First Public Working Draft of the HTML5 specification is January 22.”