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backward-compatibility of languages (aka forward compatibility)

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 09:54:03 -0400
Message-Id: <200206301354.g5UDs3t13082@wadimousa.hawke.org>
To: timbl@w3.org
cc: www-archive@w3.org

Have you or the TAG addressed the Web Architecture principal that
languages should be specified so that future versions of the language
can work (with gracefully degraded functionality) with old software
systems?  This may be an open-systems thing; traditional "backwards
compatibility" goes the other way, allowing new software to work with
old data.  HTML's "ignore tags and attributes you don't know about"
was the embodiment of this principal, and probably was essential to
the web (although it was also a pain).  

I think RDF has perfected this, but at some costs.   Peter's paradox
is one of the costs.   While I am defining the safe territory and
costs of crossing into the badlands, I want a good statement of this
principal to explain why we're here in the first place.

    -- sandro
Received on Sunday, 30 June 2002 09:56:11 UTC

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