HTML 5

I don’t understand the recent hullaballoo over HTML 5. Its creation has been going on for years, and yet, suddenly it appears as though hundreds of supposed professionals in the field have only just heard of it because Jeffry Zeldman wrote a blog post. Even the WaSP has an interview with Hixie about it back in May! Welcome to your industry, people! Luckily for them, people like Jeremy Keith have stepped forward to give a potted summary of what’s going on and what it means for those who haven’t been paying attention in class.

Of course, this means that the same arguments that were brought up when HTML 5 started in the HTML WG and when the W3C adopted the existing work for their standard have come up all over again. Not that many of them ever went away of course, with accessibility in particular being the favourite one (important to get right after HTML4 set such an awesome example).

The absolute most-recent fuss is about a document called Restructuring HTML5 by Manu Sporny which contains some interesting notions like distributed source control of the spec document (via git) and adding the ability to make inline comments on the spec; neither of which I’d thought of before in this context. The former I can’t really see making any difference because it would presumably just increase the amount of work for any editor(s) (at least it would if we maintained Manu’s comparison to the Linux kernel) but the latter might be a good idea, especially having seen it work first-hand with The Django Book. It would also seem to make sense to break more parts of it out into separate docs like some sections already have been.¬† Of course, there are some also extremely poorly-considered thoughts like conflating the scientific process with consensus-forming which makes me rather hope that Manu enjoys his blood-letting sessions.

I like the document; it at least tries to be broadly constructive, and is written in nice big letters and an easy-to-read font. A table of contents might be nice though.

In other news, HTML4 and XHTML 1.0 will continue to work for probably decades to come, yet there are no two 100% interoperable implementations of either.

Github worries me

I’m not that keen on git (for mostly aesthetic reasons although I suspect I’ll have to get over this soon), and github makes me jump through a couple of hoops too many to get up and running for the first time, but those aren’t things that worry me.

I’m worried about github going away.

Specifically I’m worried about it going away because so many people I actually know use it. Of course, github reminds me of this every time I log in because the social network features that allow you to follow people, as well as projects, has a constantly updating stream of their activity; something that, as far as I know, Sourceforge and Google Code have never allowed you to do. For me, this changes the dynamic of a hosted version control system quite drastically, because you’re suddenly being shown, very clearly, all the changes your friends are making, and how much they’re investing in this system.

What I really want to know is – where else are they hosting their code? I mean, this is the kind of thing a distributed version control system makes easy, right? But as far as I know, none of these people are hosting their code themselves so that if github went away I’d have no way of ¬†keeping track of what’s going on nor of accessing their code at all.

This kind of thing never seemed like an obvious concern on the centralised code-hosting services, and if it was then it was localised to “me and the projects I’m interested in”. By spreading that more obviously to my network it seems like a much more important problem.