Simon Willison’s Weblog

29 items tagged “standards”


Announcing the Consortium for Python Data API Standards (via) Interesting effort to unify the fragmented DataFrame API ecosystem, where increasing numbers of libraries offer APIs inspired by Pandas that imitate each other but aren’t 100% compatible. The announcement includes some very clever code to support the effort: custom tooling to compare the existing APIs, and an ingenious GitHub Actions setup to run traces (via sys.settrace), derive type signatures and commit those generated signatures back to a repository. # 19th August 2020, 5:48 am


HTML has always been a conversation between browser makers, authors, standards wonks, and other people who just showed up and liked to talk about angle brackets. Most of the successful versions of HTML have been “retro-specs,” catching up to the world while simultaneously trying to nudge it in the right direction. Anyone who tells you that HTML should be kept “pure” (presumably by ignoring browser makers, or ignoring authors, or both) is simply misinformed. HTML has never been pure, and all attempts to purify it have been spectacular failures, matched only by the attempts to replace it.

Mark Pilgrim # 3rd November 2009, 7:20 am

There is no WebKit on Mobile. PPK ran 27 tests against 19 different WebKit-on-mobile implementations and found enormous disparities between the levels of support in currently available mobile phones. # 7th October 2009, 12:23 pm

CSS 3: Progress! Alex Russell on the new exciting stuff going in to CSS 3 based on real-world implementations in the modern set of browsers. Of particular interest is the new Flexible Box specification, which specifies new layout primitives hbox and vbox (as seen in XUL) and is already supported by both WebKit and Gecko. # 22nd August 2009, 11:52 am

On HTML 5 Drag and Drop. Francisco Tolmasky investigated HTML 5 drag and drop, which allows web apps to implement drag and drop between windows and between the browser and the desktop. He found a number of problems with the spec and proposes detailed solutions. # 17th August 2009, 12:31 pm

10 Cool Things We’ll Be Able To Do Once IE6 Is Dead. Highlights include child and attribute selectors, 24bit PNGs and max-width and min-width. Simple pleasures, but I can hardly wait. # 15th April 2009, 2:17 pm

Counting the ways that rev=“canonical” hurts the Web. Mark Nottingham complains about misapplied trust (a page can falsely claim to be the canonical URL for another page), the easy confusion between rev and rel and the lack of discussion with relevant communities. # 14th April 2009, 2:11 pm

Making the HTML5 time element safe for historians. PPK presents a detailed history of dates and calendars and points out that the HTML5 time element is ill prepared to faithfully represent the kind of dates historians are interested in. # 6th April 2009, 2:01 pm


Someone asked for onbeforeunload, so I started fixing it. Then I found that there was some rot in the drywall. So I took down the drywall. Then I found a rat infestation. So I killed all the rats. Then I found that the reason for the rot was a slow leak in the plumbing. So I tried fixing the plumbing, but it turned out the whole building used lead pipes. So I had to redo all the plumbing. But then I found that the town’s water system wasn’t quite compatible with modern plumbing techniques, and I had to dig up the entire town. And that’s basically it.

Ian Hickson # 19th December 2008, 1:58 pm

OAuth in Minneapolis. OAuth looks like it’s on track for an IETF Working Group. # 20th November 2008, 6:55 pm

Embedding custom non-visible data in HTML 5. “Every HTML element may have any number of attributes starting with the string ’data-’ specified, with any value.”—this will be incredibly useful for unobtrusive JavaScript where there’s no sensible place to store configuration data as HTML content. It will also mean Dojo has an approved method for adding custom attributes to declaratively instantiate Dojo widgets. # 19th April 2008, 10:58 pm

HTML 5 vs. Yadis. The draft HTML5 spec currently disallows values for http-equiv and link rel which aren’t listed in the spec—meaning both methods of specifying a link to an OpenID server are invalid for HTML5. This should probably be fixed... # 19th April 2008, 4:35 pm

The ISO are now calling a “standard” the Microsoft Office format [...] What is interesting is that TeX, LaTeX, OGG/Vorbis, OGG/Theora, Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, OCaml, are not standardized by any organization. [...] This shows that standardization organizations are no longer relevant in the software field. What really matters is free full documentation, free full implementation source code, and of course the absence of any patent risk. [...] In other words, what matters is evidence that any independent third-party can create and distribute a fully-conforming implementation.

Benoît Jacob # 2nd April 2008, 8:30 pm

CSS Compatibility and Internet Explorer (via) Official Microsoft guide to which CSS properties are supported by which versions of IE. This is the kind of documentation browser vendors should be providing as a matter of course. # 2nd April 2008, 8:05 pm

For the record, my site is valid HTML 5, except the parts that aren’t. My therapist says I shouldn’t rely so much on external validation.

Mark Pilgrim # 10th March 2008, 2:01 pm

JavaScript in Internet Explorer 8. John Resig’s analysis. News to me: IE 8 doesn’t support the W3C event model—I had assumed that would be a priority. # 6th March 2008, 11:59 pm

Internet Explorer 8 Readiness Toolkit. The new built-in development tools look similar enough to Firebug to make me very happy. Also of interest: Selectors API (for fast getElementsBySelector), CSS 2.1 support, support for XHTML style namespaces in HTML, an interesting Web Slices feature based on the hAtom microformat and 6 connections per host (up from 2) which should make Comet easier. # 5th March 2008, 6:28 pm

Acid3 is out. The third Acid test, again compiled by Ian Hickson. This one viciously tests DOM Scripting standards compliance and currently exposes flaws in every browser. # 5th March 2008, 12:34 am

Principles and Legality. Eric Meyer notes that language about legality in Microsoft’s recent IE announcement suggests that Opera’s much criticised EU threat may have helped positively influence the result. # 4th March 2008, 7:45 pm


Boxing Day toy discovery: Mega Bloks not compatible with Duplo! See, Alex Russell? THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU INNOVATE AHEAD OF STANDARDS

Yoz Grahame # 26th December 2007, 5:58 pm

The future of web standards. Nice analysis from James Bennett, who suggests that successful open source projects (Linux, Python, Perl etc) could be used as the model for a more effective standards process, and points out that Ian Hickson is something of a BDFL for the WHAT-WG. # 17th December 2007, 1:16 pm

To get a better future, not only do we need a return to “the browser wars”, we need to applaud and use the hell out of “non-standard” features until such time as there’s a standard to cover equivalent functionality. Non-standard features are the future, and suggesting that they are somehow “bad” is to work against your own self-interest.

Alex Russell # 16th December 2007, 11:33 pm

I think it is well established that HTTP Authentication needs a major kick in the ass and OpenID and OAuth may get us most of the way there. However, until I see RFC#s attached to both I’m hardly going to consider them to be complete. I propose the creation of an IETF WG on Identity and Authentication. The WG would be chartered to produce two RFCs covering each of the two areas. OpenID and OAuth could be used to seed the WG effort.

James Snell # 18th November 2007, 12:15 am

The Story Behind ES4. If you’re scratching your head at the recent eruption of acrimony surrounding ECMAScript 4 (the next standardised version of JavaScript) Neil Mix has a relatively easy to follow catch-up post. # 2nd November 2007, 6:15 am

My own favorites were Cuba voting “yes” to the fast-tracking of OOXML, even though Microsoft is prohibited by the US Government from selling any software on the island that might even be able to read and write the new format, and Azerbaijan’s “yes” vote, even though OOXML as defined isn’t able to express a Web URL address in Azeri, their official language.

Jeremy Allison # 15th September 2007, 10:40 am

How much is that standard in the window, the one with the lovely tale? “The real loser in this could be ISO’s reputation itself.” Simon Wardley summarises the embarrassing shenanigans surrounding ISO’s rubber stamping of Microsoft’s OOXML. # 3rd September 2007, 4:49 pm

Emerging consensus in favour of a unified document format standard? A call to arms from Mark Shuttleworth—help convince ISO to adopt ODF as a single unified document format standard. # 14th August 2007, 12:14 pm

Problems with XHTML content type.

The first question you should be asking is why you need XHTML—if you don’t have a specific reason (the need for XML parsers to be able to consume your pages) you’re much better off with HTML 4.01 for now, and HTML 5 in probably a year or so.

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Fighting RFCs with RFCs

Google’s recently released Web Accelerator apparently has some scary side-effects. It’s been spotted pre-loading links in password-protected applications, which can amount to clicking on every “delete this” link — bypassing even the JavaScript prompt you carefully added to give people the chance to think twice.

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