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Re: Last call comments on WOFF (6)

From: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2011 15:59:03 +0100
Message-ID: <29567365.20110209155903@w3.org>
To: Bert Bos <bert@w3.org>
CC: www-font@w3.org
On Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 4:16:26 PM, Bert wrote:

BB> 6) A context-free grammar for WOFF in the spec would have been nice,  
BB> even if there are long-distance dependencies a CFG cannot express  
BB> (such as that some number must correspond to the number of bytes  
BB> somewhere else). A grammar gives a concise view of the structure of a
BB> file, better than the English text can, and thus helps programmers.

Do you have specific suggestions for a formal language which

a) could express this, with more precision than the prose, and
b) developers have indicated a desire to see and use

As examples, the HTML specifications used to use the DTD formalism, but this was insufficiently powerful to express major aspects of the language and many developers were reluctant to download (or use a cached copy of) the DTD, even though if they used an XML parser it had built-in DTD capability. Other developers wrote programs which downloaded the DTD millions of times, causing huge server load for no particular gain.

As a second example, the CSS specification has a formal grammar for the forward compatible parser and another formal grammar for the specific level of CSS. It is not clear that developers use either one of these to build products, and the presence of two different formal grammars has caused some confusion.

 Chris Lilley   Technical Director, Interaction Domain                 
 W3C Graphics Activity Lead, Fonts Activity Lead
 Co-Chair, W3C Hypertext CG
 Member, CSS, WebFonts, SVG Working Groups
Received on Wednesday, 9 February 2011 14:59:05 UTC

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