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Re: Syntax Doc

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 09:44:21 -0500
Message-ID: <3DBE9EC5.4040403@mitre.org>
To: Jeremy Carroll <jjc@hpl.hp.com>
CC: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org

Jeremy Carroll wrote:

> Jeremy:
>>Section 2 must have one of the following changes:
>>- clearly marked as informative
> Dave:
> Clearly a matter of disagreement.
> Jeremy
>>- moved to being an informative appendix
> Dave:
>>No.  People needed examples and there were definitely a need for them
>>plus an explanation of how the syntax works - this document isn't
>>just for parser writers.  I've already had positive feedback on this.
> Non-sequitor. A non-normative appendix is still part of the doc, still
> available for the reader. The primary role of a normative spec is to
> specify. Other docs can give examples.

Of course the primary role of a normative spec is to specify.  Including 
some examples doesn't diverge from that role;  in fact, it aids in the 
performance of that role.  More specifically, the primery role of a 
normative spec is to *convey the meaning of that specification to the 
people who need to use it*.  A normative spec that no one could 
understand wouldn't be terribly useful, in spite of how "normative" it 
was.  The RDF/XML specification is supposed to describe the RDF/XML 
syntax in a normative way, and I would interpret that to mean "not just 
to parser writers and parsers" (who can process syntax rules and 
determine whether a piece of RDF/XML is written properly or not). After 
all, many W3C  normative documents include examples. I'd suggest people 
look at this the other way:  I can't think of a better way to insure 
that what people think RDF is (including both RDF/XML and Schema) is 
what's described in the Primer than to make all the normative specs 
"bare-bones normative" (and hence virtually unreadable).  The specs 
people can read tend to become "normative" by usage.


Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
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Received on Tuesday, 29 October 2002 09:28:15 UTC

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