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Re: MUST use normative language (Re: draft-ietf-httpbis-http2 feedback)

From: Yoav Nir <ynir@checkpoint.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Aug 2013 07:21:16 +0000
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
CC: Eliot Lear <lear@cisco.com>, Amos Jeffries <squid3@treenet.co.nz>, "<ietf-http-wg@w3.org>" <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <ED1BCC64-8E83-4E86-B3E1-5E3A1E9FCDE4@checkpoint.com>

On Aug 1, 2013, at 9:12 AM, Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de> wrote:

> On 2013-07-31 19:37, Eliot Lear wrote:
>> I have two problems with the above and one overarching concern that
>> really needs to be addressed.  First, the above text is taken out of
>> context.  Flow control windows MUST always be obeyed by the sender. It
>> says so right in the previous paragraph.
>> Second,  if you don't agree with the above, changing "MAY" to "can"
>> doesn't get around the fact that you're giving advice to implementers on
>> the use of flow control, and yet that advice would be wrong because it
>> could be ignored by senders.  This is, in other words, a distinction
>> without a difference.
>> And this brings me to my general concern.  Stop running away from
>> normative language.  This WG is writing a specification that is intended
>> to be very widely deployed.  It is intended to supplant the most widely
>> deployed application protocol ever, and therefore interoperability and
>> deterministic behavior is important.  So is the use of standard
>> well-known normative terms.  They are carefully defined with specific
>> meanings that are well known that most programmers understand.  They are
>> *so* well known that many standards organizations have adopted them.
>> Lastly, these words are contained in a voluntary standard.  If you don't
>> follow them, the IETF believes that you may have an interoperability,
>> performance, or security problem, and in some cases you might cause
>> problems for others.
> The problem that I have with this "MAY" is that it states something obvious; we have a flow control feature, and a party in the data flow can invoke it. Why is there a "MAY" here?

To make it clear that this is not a MUST or a SHOULD. Otherwise, people reading the draft don't know whether invoking flow control in mandatory or not. This is particularly important for someone creating a minimal implementation. 

Received on Thursday, 1 August 2013 07:23:30 UTC

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