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Thinking about cross references and ReSpec

From: Shane McCarron <shane@aptest.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2014 15:10:05 -0500
Message-ID: <CAOk_reH8idWXDNKEL64JcZo07OWA6WAZZYVWy=gB+Lh0sALHFQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: "spec-prod@w3.org Prod" <spec-prod@w3.org>
There was an earlier thread where one side-discussion was about cross
references.  Basically, Bikeshed and Shepherd have a system for doing
cross-document references to things like terms.  I like the concept of
this, but of course Bikeshed and Shepherd are document processors, not
client-side magic like ReSpec, so....

I have this *idea*.  Or maybe it is an concept that could be turned into an
idea if I expand upon it.  Something like this:

   - Adopt the Bikeshed syntax for definitions.  This is fairly rich, and
   is well documented at [1].
   - Define a 'protocol' that ReSpec can use to query / update a definition
   service with the data from a and dfn elements, respectively.
   - Provide a reference implementation of a service that supports the
   protocol.
   - Add code to the def / a module of ReSpec that uses the protocol to
   communicate with a document-defined end point.

So in theory a family of documents could coordinate their term definitions
by all pointing to the same service endpoint.  In the PFWG we have a number
of documents where this would be a huge help.  I imagine if such a service
were available, a lot of other groups that rely upon ReSpec would find it
much easier to reference definitions where they live rather than importing
them.

There are some obvious flaws in a design like this (overhead, speed,
fragility, exposure to DoS).  But I don't feel the risks are much worse
than the current specref use.  We would need some sort of registry in the
reference implementation to help control where updates can come in from,
etc.

I know that some of us (e.g., me) work off line.  In that mode, all of
these sorts of things fall down.  But as long as they fall down gracefully
and consistently, I feel like it is okay.

Anyway - thoughts?



[1]
https://github.com/tabatkins/bikeshed/blob/master/docs/definitions-autolinks.md

P.S.  Tobie, I know that you were talking about something in this space for
Q4... and maybe this is what you are already thinking about.  If so,
consider this brainstorming / requirements gathering.
Received on Wednesday, 1 October 2014 20:10:32 UTC

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