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[w3c_sml][Bug 4651] Definition of 'consumer' needs clarification

From: Lynn, James (Software Escalations) <james.lynn@hp.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2007 08:13:43 -0400
Message-ID: <5A5CC5E87DE62148845CC96C8868900E0B36FF72@ataexc02.americas.cpqcorp.net>
To: <public-sml@w3.org>
Regarding the use of the terms 'consumer', 'producer', and
'understand(s)' (the comments filed with bugzilla are below) I dug
around the W3 website and found the following early draft of some work
the TAG is doing.

[Editorial Draft] Extending and Versioning Languages: Terminology
http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/versioning

In Section 1.1 Terminology, this document briefly defines the terms
'consumer' and 'producer' in ways that I feel are aligned with the way
we are currently using and intend to use the terms.

The term 'understand' as relates to documents according to this and
other documents in the References seems to simply mean "is able to
process". It is worth noting that this document and others discuss the
notion of "partial understanding" which is something we have touched
lightly on in discussions, specifically that some consumers may only be
able to (or choose to) process only parts of the model. There is a lot
of discussion around this and I am not sure that it is all relevant to
what we are discussing here, but if you want some background reading and
a few pretty good analogies you can look at one of the references here:
 Web Architecture: Extensible languages. (See
http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Extensible.html.)

Since it seems that the TAG is attempting to standardize some of the
terminology, I would suggest that we at least track the progress along
these lines, i.e., consumer, producer, and understands. If this WG
agrees, perhaps we should also offer our own comments to the TAG
regarding the use of these terms.

This seems like enough for an initial discussion within the group so
I'll stop here. I would like to point out that this is marked as FPWD so
if we decide to track or work with the TAG on this terminology, we may
need to postpone its resolution.

Regards,

James Lynn

W3C Service Modeling Language WG
HP Software

610 277 1896


*** Comments from Bug 4651 : ***

The definition of 'consumer' in section 3.1 troubles some WG members,
in particular the verb "understands".  

In discussion during the ftf, various alternatives were proposed;
what is the right way to distinguish consumers as described here
from other processes or agents which might encounter an SML-IF
message?  Are consumers processes which understand the model? (and
if so, what does "understand" mean?)  Are they processes which 
"act on" the model (as opposed to the surface artifacts of
serialization)?  Are they processes which validate the model?  (There
seemed to be consensus that validation is NOT the right touchstone.)

Further discussion of this concept is needed to reach agreement on what
we want as a WG, in addition to whatever editorial effort is needed to
capture that intent accurately and cleanly.


In addition to the specific issue of the definition of 'consumer', the
passage in question (and others) raise the related (and intertwined)
question "What is it that consumers DO with SML-IF documents?"  The
current
text says in various places that the consumer "understands" the
document;
this troubles enough of the WG that we should try to find some other
verb
that carries the right denotation and connotation and lacks the problems
of "understanding".
Received on Wednesday, 11 July 2007 12:26:17 UTC

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