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Re: [SVG 1.2] Make it less complex!

From: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2004 17:42:12 +0200
Message-ID: <348150846.20040715174212@w3.org>
To: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Cc: www-svg@w3.org

On Thursday, July 15, 2004, 12:38:09 PM, Bjoern wrote:

BH> Dear Scalable Vector Graphics Working Group,

BH>   As you are all aware, the complexity and implementation cost of
BH> a technology is measured in terms of how many sheets of paper are
BH> required to print the specification; I must thus ask you to reduce
BH> the complexity of the SVG 1.2 specification in order to enable its
BH> widespread adoption on the web.

We have produced a microfilm edition in your honor. However, it needs a
special machine to read it.

BH>  Please do all of the following:

BH>   * Remove all non-essential content such as illustrations,
BH>     examples, inline schema fragments, membership listings,
BH>     element/attribute/property summaries, and the TOC
BH>   * set the font-size in the style sheet to at most 9px
BH>   * set the line-height in the style sheet to at most 8px
BH>   * set the letter-spacing in the style sheet to less than 0px
BH>   * set all paddings and margins in the style to at most zero

BH> Testings showed that already the last four steps reduce the complexity
BH> and implementation cost of the SVG specification to less than one third
BH> and I am confident that the removal of the non-essential content will
BH> lead to a further significant reduction. I believe that less than 20%
BH> of the original complexity are a realistic goal, enabling SVG to go
BH> where no one has ever gone before.


However you make a good and serious point - a specification that has
full implementation details, precisely specified conformance clauses, a
well specified grammar and abundant examples and use cases will be
easier, not harder, to implement and more likely to have interoperable
implementations than one that relies on shared unwritten understanding
and terse statements of the maybe-obvious

BH> For future SVG specification, there is room for even more improvements,
BH> you can save a lot of text by less verbose prose descriptions of the
BH> technical content. This technique as commonly used by other specs can
BH> easily adopted by the SVG specification, for example the ridiculously
BH> complicated discussion on filters can easily replaced by a much easier
BH> to understand description like, "make it look nice, like in Photoshop".

'Do the best you can, implementations can do whatever they want'
wooliness has no place in a technical specification. Content developers
want consistent, repeatable results from different implementations.

BH> And then you must start modularizing the specification so that you can
BH> just reference other parts of the specification^W^W^W^W successful and
BH> simple technologies, so that your specification would become *really*
BH> simple, I could even think of just a single printed page!

All of which demonstrates, most eloquently, that measuring
implementation complexity cannot be done with a set of scales and a
printed specification.

 Chris Lilley                    mailto:chris@w3.org
 Chair, W3C SVG Working Group
 Member, W3C Technical Architecture Group
Received on Thursday, 15 July 2004 12:04:37 UTC

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