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Re: ACTION-350: Best practice for referring to specifications which may update

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2012 10:30:10 -0800
Cc: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, "C. M. Sperberg-McQueen" <cmsmcq@blackmesatech.com>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-Id: <8615AB72-1FC0-4E6B-AD77-8BC11B00A8FF@gbiv.com>
To: Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com>
On Jan 18, 2012, at 2:36 AM, Robin Berjon wrote:

> On Jan 18, 2012, at 03:10 , Larry Masinter wrote:
>> What is too complex and ultimately wrong  is to give options to those
>> writing specs that make references. 
> 
> I beg to differ. Ultimately, those who write specs are those most informed about how they should handle their own references (if they're not, then we have an entirely different problem). They are the ones who should be making decisions about whether the specifications they reference can be trusted to remain compatible and should therefore be loosely bound, or on the contrary (hopefully only in extreme cases) have a broken upgrade path and need an anchored reference.

That's impossible.  The appropriate dependencies for a standard depend on
the social context of its implementation at some future time.  Spec authors
don't have a clue what that will be, nor whether it will be uniform across
all implementation contexts.  That's why the Web's orthogonal technologies
are supposed to be defined in orthogonal specs, and pretty much by definition
orthogonal specs have loose bindings (unless they are dead).

....Roy
Received on Wednesday, 18 January 2012 18:30:31 GMT

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