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Reorganising RFC2616 [was: Revising RFC2616 - what's happening]

From: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2006 14:36:44 -0700
Message-Id: <408041BE-AF47-4F08-A67B-C3B78943748E@mnot.net>
Cc: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>, HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
To: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>


On 2006/10/20, at 11:55 AM, Roy T. Fielding wrote:

> If that is what the community wanted, people would have reviewed  
> Jim's draft.

The community of HTTP  implementors today is different than it was in  
either 2003 or 1999. I think many implementers don't have the context  
of the WG at the time of publication, and are confused by the  
assumptions baked into the document. Many of the problems that people  
are tripping across could be fixed by a few extra words, not a  
wholesale re-org.

Furthermore, from what I understand there were a number of long- 
running disagreements that were buried in the interest of getting  
2616 out. While it might be easier for you if you were given carte  
blanche to re-write HTTP, I'm not convinced those disagreements  
wouldn't resurface, dragging out the process considerably, or causing  
the effort to fail.

Those are the concerns that I have. If people want a drastic re-org,  
it's achievable in a bounded amount of time, and there are enough  
people willing to do the work, great (personally, I've always wanted  
to see a more comprehensive, clearly organised document). However, so  
far only you and Bjoern have expressed interest in doing that now.  
OTOH, much of the feedback that I got when floating the idea of  
revising 2616 was concerned with overambition. An apt quote is "the  
enemy of the good is the perfect."

Roy, perhaps it would be helpful if you gave a sketch of the changes  
you have in mind, so that people have a better idea of what we're  
talking about here, and get a broader public response.

In the meantime, I think we can still talk about the small(-er) issues.


> It is ridiculous that we have to waste our time reviewing an  
> unreadable document.

I'm a little surprised by that.

If you've already implemented 2616, and a diff to the new document is  
small, it should be simple to find any changes that you need to make.  
However, if the document is radically different, it seems that you'd  
need to evaluate the new spec line-by-line to verify that you're  
conformant.

Certainly, the changes need to be weighed for interactions with the  
rest of the document, but that's true in either case. Are you saying  
that the document is so unintelligible as to justify the effort of  
coming to consensus on a whole new formulation (see above)?

Cheers,

--
Mark Nottingham     http://www.mnot.net/
Received on Friday, 20 October 2006 21:37:05 GMT

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