2019 January 30 13:57

Happy New Year!

I wish you and your loved ones all the best in 2019!

For my part, I’m going to start the year off with a bit of good news for software developers, and two somewhat curious discoveries.

First, the good news. GitHub have recently announced that their free tier will include unlimited private repositories, each with up to three collaborators.

I’ve been using GitHub for public projects and Bitbucket for private ones precisely because Bitbucket has for years offered the option of unlimited private repositories in their free tier. However, Bitbucket limits you to five collaborators across all repositories, whereas GitHub will now allow up to three collaborators for each repository. I like both platforms, so I doubt I’ll move everything over, but this change should put some pressure on Bitbucket.

Now for the curious bits.

A few days ago, while down a rabbit hole related to IPv6, I discovered that broadband internet in Latvia costs a fraction of what it costs here in the USA, thanks largely to monopolies granted many years ago by the FCC.

I’m paying Comcast $82 per month for 150 Mbps cable internet service. In Latvia I could get 100 Mbps for €12 or 300 Mbps for €15.

Comcast have been “advertising” on NPR that they are helping families get connected to the internet. I think this claim would ring truer if decently-fast Comcast broadband cost $15/month rather than $80 or more.

Lastly, having decided to change my site generator to generate HTML instead of XHTML, I had to figure what was going on in the world of “HTML5” – which I have blissfully ignored for the past few years. I was surprised to discover that the HTML standard has actually forked. There are now two standards bodies – the W3C and WHATWG – both working on and publishing HTML standards. W3C – who had abandoned HTML in favor of XHTML and other XML-based technologies – have jumped back onto the HTML bandwagon; but whereas the WHATWG (an organization of browser vendors) want HTML to be a “living standard”, the W3C want it to be, as it has been in the past, a versioned standard.

The WHATWG has this to say about the difference in approaches (from the HTML spec introduction):

For a number of years, both groups [W3C and WHATWG] then worked together. In 2011, however, the groups came to the conclusion that they had different goals: the W3C wanted to publish a “finished” version of “HTML5”, while the WHATWG wanted to continue working on a Living Standard for HTML, continuously maintaining the specification rather than freezing it in a state with known problems, and adding new features as needed to evolve the platform.

Since then, the WHATWG has been working on this specification (amongst others), and the W3C has been copying fixes made by the WHATWG into their fork of the document (which also has other changes).

You can choose to follow either standard, but since your HTML will be, in all likelihood, consumed by a web browser (or a web browser engine such as Electron), the WHATWG standard is more likely to be accurate and useful.

To compare and contrast: W3C’s latest HTML standard vs WHATWG’s “living” HTML standard

Read the 2018 journal.