Re: ZIP-based packages and URI references into them ODF proposal

On Tue, 30 Dec 2008, Elliotte Harold wrote:
> I definitely believe that defining syntax, semantics, and behavior in 
> one spec is a very bad idea.

The only example I can think of where the syntax, semantics, and behaviour 
were defined in _different_ specs was the OWL specs, and my understanding 
is that that working group concluded it was a mistake.

Personally I think the spec structure used by SVG, CSS, HTML4, HTTP 1.1, 
XML, XMLNS, etc, is fine, we just need more detail throughout.

> > To use XML as an example -- XML doesn't actually define how to parse 
> > XML, and thus there is no concept of the processing of an end tag, 
> > which then makes it very hard to define things such as 
> > document.write(), SVGLoad events, <script> processing, etc, in 
> > languages that use XML.
> That's a feature, not a bug. Different systems will have different needs 
> for processing. The weakness of the XML spec is that it actually does 
> define a little more processing than it needs to or should. It would be 
> a stronger spec had it limited itself to the definition of what a 
> well-formed document is.

It is quite possible to provide for the different needs for processing 
while still being detailed enough to ensure uniformity across all 
applications. I agree that flexibility is a feature. But when the 
flexibility comes at the cost of the spec being so vague as to _prevent_ 
uniformity in implementations, then it is a bug.

> > It also doesn't define the error handling for incorrect values on the 
> > xml:space attribute.
> Yes, that's a bit of a weird corner case. Applications are free to treat 
> that as an error or not as they see fit. However that's reasonable given 
> that most applications don't really care about xml:space at all.

If most applications don't care, then maybe the feature shouldn't exist, 
or should be defined in a separate specification (like xml:id).

Just because most implementations don't need the feature, and will do 
nothing with the feature, does not mean that those implementations that 
_do_ need the feature shouldn't have an unambiguous specification of what 
the feature does and how to process it.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

Received on Wednesday, 31 December 2008 01:22:27 UTC