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Re: An HTML language specification

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2008 01:22:48 +0000 (UTC)
To: Toby A Inkster <tai@g5n.co.uk>
Cc: distobj@acm.org, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0811190119190.25579@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Wed, 19 Nov 2008, Toby A Inkster wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > On Tue, 18 Nov 2008, Mark Baker wrote:
> > 
> > > Can anybody name a long deployed system whose constituent protocols were
> > > specified as a monolith?  I can't.
> > 
> > The United States of America.
> > http://uscode.house.gov/
> Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the US constitution consist of 
> seven separate articles, with very little overlap; plus the bill of 
> rights, again with little overlap with the original seven, added a few 
> years later? And a number of smaller amendments over the years.

The US Code (the law), which is based on the constitution, is a monolith 
(as Mark put it).

> That seems to be very much what is being proposed by splitting the 
> current HTML5 spec: several specifications covering different areas of 
> responsibility, with as little overlap as possible, but worked on by 
> mostly a single team to ensure a coherent result; with the possibility 
> for additions a few years later; and structured in a manner so that one 
> spec may be amended without the others needing a rewrite.

In fact the US constitution plus the US Code are very similar to what we 
have now -- the group charter (original constitution), the design 
principles (amendments), plus a single spec of conformance rules.

I'm not arguing that this is a precedent we should or should not follow. 
(As has been noted several times, I'd be happy to split the HTML5 spec if 
we had any volunteers to do so.) I merely put this forward as an example 
of a long deployed system whose constituent protocols were specified as a 
monolith, because Mark asked for one.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 01:23:27 UTC

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