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Re: informal survey - on spec philosophy

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2012 15:43:56 -0700
Message-ID: <CAAWBYDDeZGkrsnkR9NPtiwWdQjZ6Kk628Vy8w+p5T1=J_s4uNA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Glenn Adams <glenn@skynav.com>
Cc: WebApps WG <public-webapps@w3.org>
On Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 1:40 PM, Glenn Adams <glenn@skynav.com> wrote:
> It has been stated to me that, at least for "open web platform standards",
> the following statement is true and is shared by the majority:
>
> "if it isn't written in the spec, it isn't allowed by the spec"
>
> I happen to disagree with the truth of this, based on my personal experience
> both with spec writing and with implementation/use of specs, but I would be
> curious to see who agrees with this idea or not.
>
> The case in point is an instance of a possible ambiguity in a spec because a
> particular assumption/convention is not documented; i.e., an assumption that
> something isn't allowed even though it isn't explicitly disallowed. While I
> agree it is, in general, impossible (or at least impractical) to document
> all disallowances, I do believe it is important to document important
> disallowances, particular when there are concerns raised about spec
> ambiguity.

The statement you quoted is more or less accurate.  Behavior that
isn't specced is almost certain to not be interoperable.  If the spec
is incomplete or unclear in some aspect, that's a spec bug, not an
opportunity for implementations to make up their own behavior based on
what the engineer thinks is reasonable at the time they're writing the
code.

~TJ
Received on Monday, 26 March 2012 22:44:45 GMT

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