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Re: Best practice for referring to specifications which may update

From: Karl Dubost <karl+w3c@la-grange.net>
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 21:14:21 -0400
Message-Id: <EC413EAE-151A-4D7D-A1D6-AE9141BFAD9A@la-grange.net>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org, "C. M. Sperberg-McQueen" <cmsmcq@blackmesatech.com>
To: "Henry S. Thompson" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>

Le 28 oct. 2009 à 10:57, Henry S. Thompson a écrit :
> In the context of an extended discussion at the recent TAG f2f
> regarding references to potential time-varying specification URIs [1]

I encourage you to read the section 2.2.3 Normative (and Non- 
Normative) References

The Good Practice 8 specifically.

On Wed, 10 Aug 2005 12:30:15 GMT
In QA Framework: Specification Guidelines
At http://www.w3.org/TR/qaframe-spec/#ref-define-practice

Good Practice 8: When imposing requirements by
normative references, address conformance

What does it mean? Each addition of a normative
reference to the specification has deep
implications on the technology. Specification
editors are responsible for reviewing the
consequences in terms of consistency, precision,
possible future changes or obsolescence as well as
use of the technology under specific conditions.

Why care? A specification defines a technology
with a potentially long lifespan. The choice of
precise and exact normative references is thus
fundamental. Using a normative reference that
evolves over time might endanger the specification
or other specifications relying on it. A vague
reference to the other specification as a whole
may leave room for conflicting interpretations or
choices among variations permitted by the other

For the Working Group, reducing the degree of
ambiguity or variation in the normative references
minimizes or removes the possibility of
misunderstanding. For implementers, it removes
ambiguities and contradictions between different
sets of technologies. It creates a stable
environment for their development efforts.

For conformance testing to be practical, all
requirements need to be unambiguous, including
those imposed by normative reference to other

Karl Dubost
Montréal, QC, Canada
Received on Thursday, 29 October 2009 01:14:33 UTC

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