W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > December 2012

RE: The polyglot specification should be suitable for normative reference

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2012 09:51:36 -0800
To: "Henry S. Thompson" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>, Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>
CC: "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>, "lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, "Eliot.Graff@microsoft.com" <Eliot.Graff@microsoft.com>, Norm Walsh <ndw@nwalsh.com>, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Message-ID: <C68CB012D9182D408CED7B884F441D4D1E372B7ABE@nambxv01a.corp.adobe.com>
I'm not sure we should deep-end into defining the word "normative". But if we're going to, let's start with

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normative#Standards_documents

as a working definition.

 I think the objection to the document was in fact not wanting the appearance of endorsement of the specification as prescriptive.




> -----Original Message-----
> From: Henry S. Thompson [mailto:ht@inf.ed.ac.uk]
> Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2012 4:58 AM
> To: Noah Mendelsohn
> Cc: www-tag@w3.org; Henri Sivonen; lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au;
> Eliot.Graff@microsoft.com; Norm Walsh; Maciej Stachowiak; Paul Cotton; Sam
> Ruby
> Subject: Re: The polyglot specification should be suitable for normative
> reference
> 
> Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com> writes:
> 
> > I am convinced by the argument that Tim Berners-Lee made on our TAG
> > teleconference last week that "normative" describes not the status of
> > an individual document, but of a reference from one document to
> > another.
> 
> I have to disagree.  Certainly a normative reference functions to
> expand the normative content of a standard by incorporating the
> normative content of the referred-to spec. into the referring spec.
> But this observation doesn't address the question of what it means to
> _be_ normative content.
> 
> I think there are two main cases:
> 
>  1) Standards which describe artefacts: protocols, languages, physical
>     objects, etc.  In this case normative content determines
>     conformance: conformant messages, implementations, instances,
>     etc. are those which satisfy all applicable normative
>     requirements.  Such requirements are often, although not always,
>     expressed using RFC2119 [1] vocabulary.
> 
>  2) Standards which define vocabulary or other standards
>     infrastructure (for example, notation).  In this case it is the
>     normatively defined vocab/notation/... which is available for use
>     in referring specs.  The relevant definitions accordingly need not
>     use RFC2119 language, although they sometimes do: A normative
>     definition of the form "To be a 'framis', an artefact *must* have
>     four legs" is in practice no different from one of the form "A
>     'framis' is defined to be an artefact with four legs", given that
>     conformance will come from some referring spec. including,
>     normatively, something such as "The result *must* be a 'framis'
>     [ref. ...]"
> 
> So for example the Infoset spec., which defines terminology, doesn't
> itself define conformance, and the XPath Data Model spec [3] makes
> normative reference _to_ the Infoset spec., in normative conformance
> statements, for example:
> 
>   "The Infoset must not contain any *unexpanded entity reference
>    information items* [ref. XML Infoset]."
> 
> The net result is a requirement on processors which claim conformance
> to the XDM.
> 
> Although I'll address some of the questions around the 'polyglot'
> spec. in a subsequent message, from the perspective advanced here the
> simple fact that a standard might well make normative reference to it,
> in order, for example, to normatively require polyglot input, is
> itself sufficient for it to make sense for the 'polyglot' spec. to
> contain normative content.
> 
> ht
> 
> [1] http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2119.txt
> [2] http://www.w3.org/TR/xml-infoset/#conformance
> [3] http://www.w3.org/TR/xpath-datamodel/#const-infoset
> --
>        Henry S. Thompson, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
>       10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB, SCOTLAND -- (44) 131 650-4440
>                 Fax: (44) 131 650-4587, e-mail: ht@inf.ed.ac.uk
>                        URL: http://www.ltg.ed.ac.uk/~ht/
>  [mail from me _always_ has a .sig like this -- mail without it is forged spam]
Received on Thursday, 6 December 2012 17:52:27 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Thursday, 6 December 2012 17:52:28 GMT