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Re: How to link W3C Technical Reports

From: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 04:09:07 +0100
To: "Ian B. Jacobs" <ij@w3.org>
Cc: w3t-comm@w3.org, www-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <10o9u2lrrcmc72nq6t4pbljeqln24k7gpf@hive.bjoern.hoehrmann.de>

* Ian B. Jacobs wrote:
>This has happened to me in practice. I don't think there's any
>perfect solution (until the day we can do redirects with
>fragids as Bert Bos has suggested [1]).
>One idea: redirect the URI to section 8.15 to a "changes" chapter. In
>that chapter, explain in prose what changed and where to turn. You might
>even have a fragid in the changes chapter so that user agents that
>re-append the fragid on the redirected URI land right on the explanation
>they seek.

Odiferous Style Sheets 2.0 will be a great technology, but it will take
several years from publication of the specification to widespread de-
ployment of client software. In the meantime most people will continue
to write OSS 1.0 style sheets. During that time readers of my OSS 1.0
tutorial will not appreciate if they follow links to the OSS 1.0 spec
that turn out to be links to the changes section of the OSS 2.0 spec.
It's nice to know what will change, but to get their job done using OSS
1.0 they really need the OSS 1.0 specification.

Even if section 8.15 is kept intact in OSS 2.0 but with new features
added, my readers will get confused about it, they will try new 2.0
features in their 1.0 clients and it won't work as they expect. I know
because I once spend an afternoon trying to make the HTML 3.0 <banner>
element work in pre-HTML 3.2 browsers. My book had it, my editor had
it, I saw it in tutorials, it must work! But didn't. So I'm afraid this
is not a viable solution.

I need a URL that always resolves to the latest edition of a particular
Recommendation. Why is there no such URL for current Technical Reports?
Isn't the type of link I want to make much more common than linking to
"the latest edition of this Recommendation, or a PER of it, or a draft
for the next version of the technology, or a placeholder document, or
something else entirely, depending on the phase of the moon and how the
group managing the technology feels like"?

There is a simple solution of course, once a shortname resolves to a
REC, it will always resolve to the latest edition of that particular
Recommendation. Shortnames for anything else, like "latest publication
in the area of Odiferous Style Sheets" or "latest Odiferous Style Sheets
Recommendation" either do not exist or, if you die without them, are
much less prominent and redirect to some other shortname. I proposed
just that two years ago when we discussed this in the context of SMIL2.

If that is not possible I will probably remove all links to shortnames
in the specifications I edit. As an example, I cannot have a bib entry

  [XML Events] 
    XML Events, S. McCarron, S. Pemberton, and T.V. Raman, Editors.
    World Wide Web Consortium, October 2003. This version of the XML
    Events Recommendation is http://www.w3.org/TR/20... The latest ver- 
    sion of XML Events is available at http://www.w3.org/TR/xml-events.

in DOM Level 3 Events because what is available at the latter URL is a
"XML Events 2" Working Draft, which to me is by no means the latest ver-
sion of "XML Events" and much less of the Recommendation I ment to re-
ference. Similarily, "The latest version of XML 1.0 is available at
http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-xml" must be removed also because tomorrow you
might find a XML 2.0 Working Draft there, or a placeholder page that
explains that in XML 2.0 DTDs are in one spec and the rest in another.
Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
Weinh. Str. 22 · Telefon: +49(0)621/4309674 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
68309 Mannheim · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · http://www.websitedev.de/ 
Received on Wednesday, 28 February 2007 03:09:17 UTC

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