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RE: RSS 1.0: problems with feed, validator, CPAN module or specification?

From: Brian Kelly <b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2007 11:20:36 -0000
To: 'olivier Thereaux' <ot@w3.org>
Cc: 'Sam Ruby' <rubys@intertwingly.net>, 'QA IG' <www-qa@w3.org>, 'Users of the FeedValidator' <feedvalidator-users@lists.sourceforge.net>, danbri@danbri.org
Message-ID: <10702081120.aa09539@lamin.ukoln.ac.uk>

Hi Oliver

> Hello Brian, Hi all.
> 
> On Feb 7, 2007, at 19:15 , Brian Kelly wrote:
> >    However as validators are of such importance to W3C and 
> as the QA 
> > group has an interest in the QA processes for ensuring 
> standards and 
> > (I
> > assume)
> > related applications such as validators, I think it would 
> be useful to 
> > identify what went wrong in this case
> 
> What do *you* think went wrong? I'm thinking everything went rather
> well: a small bug in the implementation of a slightly faulty 
> specification was found, reported, fixed, and added to a 
> regression test suite. Hopefully the small problems in the 
> spec will also get fixed soon.

I'd agree - as I said the speed of response and deployment of a solution to
this problem was outstanding. 
 
> > note a colleague who is a software developer felt that most 
> developers 
> > wouldn't have such a faith in validators as I do - but if you can't 
> > trust the validators, what's the point of validation?
> 
> Maybe faith is better left for ideas, religions and such 
> immaterial things. Validators are useful tools, but still 
> tools, worldly and imperfect. A bug in a dark corner of their 
> code does not change the fact that validators are massively 
> useful for people to adopt technologies - especially when 
> said bug gets squashed within 24 hours of being reported.

I suspect my comments reflected a growing disillusionment I have with the
W3C's vision and concerns that the increasing complexity of Web standards
will fail to take off in the real world. So when you say in your blog
"nothing is perfect. Nothing. Even the best products, software or others,
have faults." I find myself agreeing, realising that the specs can be
flawed, the validators can be flawed, the libraries can be flawed, the test
cases can be flawed, ...   (Yes, I'm now losing the idealist I had when I
discovered the Web back in 1992).

So in response to your question "What do *you* think went wrong?" I would
say W3C's (public-ish) spin on its vision and its standards. For example at
the Workshop on E-Government at the WWW2006 conference, Ivan Herman's
opening talk on standards for e-government gave no indication of the
complexities we're talking about (my talk did, BTW) - see
http://www.w3c.org.hk/www2006/papers/ (they've only got a PDF of my talk;
the XHTML version is available at
http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/papers/e-gov-workshop-2006/).

Returning to what should be done (and is being done in the QA group) is the
issue of evangelism and community involvement.  Phil Wilson, a colleague at
Bath University, responded to my comment that "The development community
would have spotted bugs in an open source applications, through the 'many
eyes make all bugs shallow' principle." by pointing out that I'd just done
that.

The W3C QA group does advocacy work on the benefits of open standards - e.g.
http://www.w3.org/QA/2003/07/LocalAction
However this implies that the open standards and supporting tools,
documents, etc. are all fine.  Perhaps what is needed is the advocacy work
for the development community, which seeks to get developers more involved
in the quality process for the specs, the tools, etc.  This is obviously
mainstream work for the QA group - perhaps the need is for more open links
between the two areas? 

Cheers

Brian 

> > http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2007/02/07/validators-dont-always-
> > work/
> >
> > Comments welcome.
> 
> Seeing as everyone is commenting on weblogs...
> http://www.w3.org/QA/2007/02/bugs_and_qa.html
> 
> Cheers,
> --
> olivier
> 
> 
Received on Thursday, 8 February 2007 11:20:57 UTC

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