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Before-Looks or After-Looks

From: Dennis E. Hamilton <dennis.hamilton@acm.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:56:11 -0700
To: <public-change@w3.org>
Message-ID: <00b301cfd779$30f2b1e0$92d815a0$@acm.org>
I think there is a fundamental difference to be considered.  It has to do with answering the following question:

1. When the change-tracking information is all ignored, what remains,
	a. The original unchanged XML document (the before-look), or
	b. The fully-changed XML document (the after-look)?

There may be a requirement here.

At one point, I thought that it didn’t matter, in the sense that one form could be transformed to the other (before removing the change-tracking).  Now, I am not so sure.

The ODF representation for tracked changes has (1.b) as its default result when change-tracking information is ignored.  In an interoperability setting, that seems to be the safest approach.

There is one case where the before-look is needed and that is when the document file is digitally signed and can’t be modified without that counting as tampering.  So however change is represented, it can’t touch the original.  One could still provide an after-look style of tracked changes using a copy.  That’s messier.  Or one could use some sort of supplemental information that accounts for changes to the original without touching the original, a case that I touched on in my DChanges paper on Protected Change-Tracking.  This can be made a specialized problem, with general change-tracking still handled with case (1.b).

How does the choice between before-looks and after-looks come down in the usage scenarios others are considering?

 -- Dennis E. Hamilton
    dennis.hamilton@acm.org    +1-206-779-9430
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Received on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 21:56:42 UTC

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