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Re: Should SpecGL be a spec?

From: Alex Rousskov <rousskov@measurement-factory.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 22:24:18 -0600 (MDT)
To: Lofton Henderson <lofton@rockynet.com>
cc: www-qa@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.4.44.0209052146370.89182-100000@measurement-factory.com>

On Thu, 5 Sep 2002, Lofton Henderson wrote:

> In the 20020515 SpecGL WD [1], we had some vague statements about
> "flavors of conformance", and it raised some discussion on this list
> that flavors are evil (my paraphrase), and that SpecGL needs to
> discourage unnecessary variations and flavors.  Before we could even
> argue the issue about the latter, we needed to clarify what we meant
> by "flavors".

"Kinds" or "degrees" of conformance, I guess.

Yes, in general, all variations, including variations in degrees of
conformance, are evil in a sense that if a spec can cover the same
technology without using variation X, it SHOULD be written without X.
I doubt there is need to argue about this "minimal set" requirement.

I also doubt anybody would seriously object that documenting and
analyzing common degrees of variability in existing specs is a good,
useful project.

There are two questions worth arguing about:

	- If SpecGL contains the above "minimal set" SHOULD, how can
	  we test it given a spec? I would argue that one cannot test
	  this requirement in many cases. That is, it is often
	  virtually impossible to objectively prove that X can be
	  deleted without harm. If we cannot test, should we still
	  have this SHOULD? I think so.

	- Is it appropriate for SpecGL to illustrate a "minimal
	  set" SHOULD with a lengthy discussion about some common
	  degrees of variability? IMO, no it is not appropriate;
	  that discussion belongs elsewhere because having it
	  would violate the "minimal set" SHOULD.

> DoV is how we are trying to organize the discussion of flavors --
> the DoV are the underpinnings of the flavors, if you will.  DoV are
> how we are trying to highlight at least some of the key variables
> that should be considered by specifications.  No, we won't hit all
> possible variables, but I think we have captured a good bit of
> current W3C practice (as well as ISO and other venues) in the
> current factorization.

The SpecGL spec is not the right place to "try to highlight at least
some of the key variables that should be considered by
specifications", IMO. SpecGL should contain specific, mostly testable,
clauses that can be applied to a given spec. SpecGL should _not_
contain instructions how to write a [good] spec. This is one of the
key disagreements I have with the current wording/intent.

> The usefulness of the DoV as an organizing concept for SpecGL is a key
> issue that we are putting out for discussion with this working draft.

Yes, as long as this issue does not assume that various degrees must
be covered/described by SpecGL at all. My argument is that the
"minimal set" SHOULD requirement above is sufficient; no need to
invent an "organizing concept".

Alex.

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Received on Friday, 6 September 2002 00:24:22 GMT

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