In his latest blog post, Shane McCarron managed to illustrate the disconnect about what the Web is and isn't better than I've ever been able to (emphasis his, importance mine):

What's the problem? The organization with the primary responsibility for taking the web forward has two competing sets of activities. There's the browser-centric work - this includes HTML5, CSS, and the Rich Web Client Activity (HTML DOM stuff, Widgets, XMLHTTPRequest etc.). Then there's the web-centric work - this includes XML, XPath, Xinclude, XML Schema, RDF, OWL, etc. And while these sets of activities could be designed to dovetail together, the browser-centric work seems to be ignoring the rest of the work.

The worldview that allows Shane to paint XML, XPath, Xinclude, XML Schema, RDF, OWL, etc. as web-centric work whilst claiming HTML5, CSS, … HTML DOM stuff, Widgets, XMLHTTPRequest etc. to be merely browser-centric—that, right there, in plain language, is the gap between the imaginary Web of some people's fancy and the actual Web that is used every day by millions of people.


  1. assuming there could only be one way a user-agent should behave, and then painstakingly documenting it (the shared behavior of operaWebKitMozilla i mean) seems to be a heavy focus of HTML5.

    conflating this with HTML as a document format seems bad to me. ive alwyas been a proponent of a Browser5 spec..

    carmen, 15 July 2009

  2. So, I work on OWL (for example) and other Semantic Web stuff. Unfortunately, this sort of attitude is really prevalent often under the guise of "Web Architecture". As long as you conform to the Web Architecture Vision, you are working on the Web. If you are in violation, you are damaging the Web (though, fortunately, Web Architecture is robust enough to survive your mistaken ways).

    Sigh. Oh well.

    Bijan Parsia, 24 September 2009