HTML5 and XML: Mending Fences

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday 9:00am - 09:10am

Introductions, Greetings, and Announcements

Monday 9:10am - 09:45am

Mending fences and saving babies

Robin Berjon

The harshest squabbles are fraternal, and as fraternal squabbles go, the one between the proponents of XML and HTML has been at times quite brutal. This kerfuffle has opened large rifts in what is largely a like-minded community. The differences between XML and HTML are genuine, especially when considering not just the markup but the full family of technologies that have grown around them. But do they really justify animosity? Both XML and HTML have created strong solutions to varied problems often ignored by other angle bracketists. Their many commonalities mean that the XML and HTML communities need not throw away one another’s babies in a big slosh of bathwater. It is time for a candid conversation about flaws and limitations, and from there to mend fences.

Monday 9:45am - 10:05am

The Library of Congress Recommended Format Specifications

Ardie Bausenbach & Kate Zwaard, Library of Congress

The “Library of Congress Recommended Format Specifications” describes formats which it will collect to ensure the preservation and long-term access of the creative output of the nation and the world. The specification covers textual works and musical compositions, still image works, audio works, moving image works, software and electronic gaming and learning, and database/databases. For each of these categories a list of preferred and acceptable formats, in descending order of preference, is provided. Formats for textual works include XML, EPUB, and HTML. After introducing the specification we discuss why it was created, the considerations in ranking the various formats for electronic books and serials, and how the Library expects the policy to be used.

Monday 10:05am - 10:25am

Non-Extensible Markup Language

Domenic Denicola, Google

XML's steady descent into obscurity has become more and more apparent over the last few years. Developers, tool vendors, and browser implementers have all embraced HTML as the web's markup language, built on a substrate of JavaScript. Nothing epitomizes this shift more than the recent rise of web components: instead of standards committees dreaming up domain-specific XML vocabularies and hoping one day browsers would incorporate them, web components and the extensible web principles they embody allow authors to empower HTML with the same abilities XML once promised. The HTML of today is a truly extensible markup language. Where XML failed in this mission, both historically and practically, the web ecosystem routed around the damage of XML's influence by making HTML better suited for extensibility than ever before.

Monday 10:25am - 10:45am

XML on the Web

Alex Miłowski, University of Edinburgh

In the beginning, many presumed we would move to a world where XML documents and the applications that processed them would proliferate across the Web. The Web looked like a bright place for markup; technologies like XSLT made their way into the browser and linking standards were on their way. Yet, it didn’t happen. As browsers strengthened their ability to process information, render HTML documents, display media assets, and deliver applications, the role of XML was either pushed to the other side or used as a way to deliver data to applications within the browser via AJAX. The potential mismatches between the wants of the Web developer and the generic, impoverished nature of the DOM led to the development of JSON. In places where they might once have used XML, web developers have moved in droves to using JSON and HTML. XML has been removed from its role to convey data to applications, shunted to the server, and labeled legacy by many. With an uphill, generational challenge to bring it back within favor, the fundamental question is: Do we really want XML on the Web?

Monday 10:45am - 11:15am

Coffee Break

Monday 11:15am - 12:00pm

Practical processing of HTML5 as XML and XML as HTML5

Phil Fearon, DeltaXML Ltd

HTML5 and XML share a superficially similar syntax, but they have very different design goals, cultures, and supporting technology stacks. Understanding these differences, and assigning clear boundaries between the areas of responsibility assigned to the two technologies, can be the key to developing solutions that benefit from the best of both. We illustrate two smoothly integrated HTML5/XML solutions: one which leverages XML technologies to provide a website that compares HTML5 documents and one an HTML5 web app for reviewing and merging concurrent changes to XML documents.

Monday 12:00pm - 12:45pm

Rich Hypermedia: Making readers first class citizens on the web

Steven J. DeRose

Hypertext on The Web is ubiquitous; it is hyperlinking that makes it a web. The current hypertext Web is useful and comfortable, but it could and should be richer, more expressive, and more enabling. Capabilities that could and should be added to the current repertoire of hypermedia functions on the Web include annotation, precise linking, bidirectional linking, transclusion, dynamic views, dynamic linking, trails, orientation, integration of linking and style, and chunking. Most of these capabilities have been implemented and proven in multiple systems. Some have been tried on a small scale on the Web (via private scripts, add-ons, special proxy servers, etc); but for basic functionality like this, we need to do better. A feature that only works on certain sites, or only with a certain set of plug-ins, or only if particular conventions are followed — is a second-class citizen in the world of information. We must rid ourselves of the notion that a reader is of a different class than an author: that the Web is largely a delivery system, except for gurus. Readers must become first-class citizens on The Web.

Monday 12:45am - 2:00pm


Monday 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Lightning talks

Symposium participants

Lightning talks! Your chance to supplement, support, expound upon, pursue, or controvert points raised in the morning sessions or points you think should have been raised in them! Speakers will have five minutes to make their point. The audience will get two questions while the next speaker sets up. Participants may sign up on-site to give lightning talks on anything related to HTML5, XML, or the relation or interaction between the two.

Monday 3:30pm - 4:00pm

Coffee Break

Monday 4:00pm - 5:30pm

Where should the Web go in the next 25 years?

Symposium participants pose questions about the development and history of the Web and express their visions and concerns about the future of the Web. Robin Berjon, editor of the W3C HTML5 specification, will answer questions about Web history, the current state of HTML5, and the future of web technologies.