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[Bug 6287] New: Terminology: "undefined"

From: <bugzilla@wiggum.w3.org>
Date: Mon, 08 Dec 2008 12:13:01 +0000
To: public-qt-comments@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-6287-523@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>


           Summary: Terminology: "undefined"
           Product: XPath / XQuery / XSLT
           Version: Recommendation
          Platform: PC
        OS/Version: Windows NT
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: XPath
        AssignedTo: chamberl@almaden.ibm.com
        ReportedBy: mike@saxonica.com
         QAContact: public-qt-comments@w3.org

Throughout our specifications, we use the term "undefined", without defining
the term, to mean that a particular variable or property has no value and that
any attempt to access the value is an error. Notably, we use this for the
context item and other parts of the focus, and for the typed value of an
element with element-only content.

This meaning of the term "undefined" is not intuitive, and it runs contrary to
usage in some other standards where it is used to mean something akin to our
"implementation-dependent". Some readers have been known to mistakenly read it
as meaning "not defined in this specification".

If we are going to use the term, we should define what we mean by it.
Preferably, we should use a different term, for example the XSD specifications
use "absent".

I would suggest this as a change to be made across the 2.1/1.1 specifications.
I have raised it against XPath 2.0 for want of a more suitable locus.

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Received on Monday, 8 December 2008 12:13:11 UTC

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