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Re: New issue: error recovery practices (Re: Proposed TAG Finding: Internet Media Type registration, consistency of use)

From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 16:39:53 -0700
Message-ID: <3CF41549.9080901@textuality.com>
To: Rob Lanphier <robla@real.com>
Cc: "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
Rob Lanphier wrote:
 > Summary:  this is a request that the TAG issue a finding regarding
 > appropriate error resilience/recovery/"second guessing" in web software.

The TAG spent some time on this on May 27, and while there's an issue
lurking out there, it needs a bit more cooking before we're ready to
take it up officially.

 > *  Should future XML-based language specifications from W3C extend
 >    traditional XML strictness into attribute values and other areas left
 >    undefined by XML?

The answer seems to be "it depends".  I'm having trouble imagining what 
kind of thing we could say that would cover the general case.  Is there 
a general case here?

 > *  Should specifications be clear on what is safe to ignore?  (I would
 >    hope so....not always the case, so perhaps this should be written 
down)
 > *  When is it safe to specify that unknown issues can be ignored
 >    ("ignorability"), and when must specification writers not allow
 >    ignorability?

Same comment, really.  I'm having trouble seeing the general case or 
imagining what a TAG finding could say.

I'm trying not to diss the issue that Rob's raising here.  Clearly the 
decision as to how-liberal-to-be-in-what-you-accept is architectural in 
scope.  On the other hand, the W3C specifies languages designed for 
authorship by nontechnical humans, protocols for significant e-commerce 
payloads, and pretty well everything in between, so is there an 
architectural principle that cuts across the spectrum?  For example, I 
(perhaps in a minority) am OK with HTML processors being very liberal in 
what they accept; it helps let everyone publish to the web.  I also 
believe that XML's draconian error-handling was the right design decision.

I think there is a real TAG issue lurking in the underbrush here, but 
I'm just not smart enough at this point to figure out what it is.  Rob, 
you want to try to shake this down a little more?

 > There is a related class of issues under discussion in the QA working
 > group that may or may not fold into this one.  They are discussing
 > conformance requirements for backwards-compatibility and deprecated
 > features.  See http://www.w3.org/QA/WG/qawg-issues-html.html#x51 for more
 > details.

Related, but I think distinct.  -Tim
Received on Tuesday, 28 May 2002 19:39:46 GMT

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