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Re: Modules and levels in a specification

From: Andrew Thackrah <andrew@opengroup.org>
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2002 17:51:13 +0100
To: www-qa-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <20020806175113.A510@hyperion>

On 2002.08.06 17:06 Dominique HazaŽl-Massieux wrote:
> Le mar 06/08/2002 ŗ 17:52, Andrew Thackrah a ťcrit :
>>   re SpecGL modules/levels/profiles
>> 
>>   I'm not clear on the difference between a level and a spec version -
> are
>>   they different?
> 
> Yes, they are. Level implies (as the spec GL describes it) a hierarchy
> of features: anything available in DOM Level 1 is also available in DOM
> Level 2. DOM Level 2 completes DOM Level 1, but is backward compatible
> with it.
> 
> Versionning implies no such promises regarding backward compatibility,
> nor regarding hierarchical inclusions. Basically, different versions are
> not supposed to have anything in common, except probably the target of
> the spec (that is, as I understand it).

  Thanks for explaining this.
  In my previous email I imaged what HTTP would be like post specGL - 
currently
  the version number is a very important identifier of conformance (the 
only one?)
  How will future specs deal with versions and levels? 
Will the version number still be used or will it be subsumed into a level?
  If so I can imagine a spec version being just an internal tag for editors
  and not a published number. This is important because people will always
  use version numbers when making conformance claims for
  marketing so if a version number ever escapes into the wild it could 
cause chaos
  with a nicely leveled spec!

Also versions give a chance to throw things out from an earlier spec. I'm 
assuming
  that levels can not do this (?) and the increments are always cumulative 
rather
  than just different.  So is 'version' in the 'HTTP 1.0, 1.1, ...' sense 
regarded as significant?

>>   Also I currently regard profiles to be a form of product
>> categorization
>>   rather than an aid to technical specification.
> 
> One of the goals of the QA Framework is to promote interoperability,
> which is one of the big gain from standardization. If you just say "up
> to the vendors to use this or this module", what will you say to the
> content producers?

  If I was a spec author I would say nothing! because it is outside my 
brief
  to speculate on products. I would want to concentrate on capturing
  technical requirements only.

  If I was a marketing person I would say to the content producers that
  it is in their interests to ensure that a relevent component exists for 
the
  target application. E.g. I currently have a nice SVG plug-in for my 
Mozilla
  browser, and my apache HTTP server is almost 100% plug-in modules.
These are examples of product developers and content producers working
  together in their mutual interest to make new technologies succeed
  without being forced to adopt a product profile from outside of their
  development strategy.

  I agree that profiles are an important indicator of interoperability. 
However
  I'm not convinced that interop concerns should be dealt with at the 
technical
  spec level -I think it comes at a higher level when specs are being
  implemented for real.

  -Andrew
Received on Tuesday, 6 August 2002 12:52:43 GMT

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