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Re: New resource: Normative References to W3C Standards

From: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2013 21:28:33 -0400
Message-ID: <51709DC1.2020409@arcanedomain.com>
To: Marcos Caceres <w3c@marcosc.com>
CC: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, Anne van Kesteren <annevk@annevk.nl>, "Henry S. Thompson" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>, Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>, Philippe Le H├ęgaret <plh@w3.org>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>


On 4/18/2013 3:34 PM, Marcos Caceres wrote:
> What does stable mean to you? I think you are thinking of a "static" draft, not a stable one. Because a static dated draft cannot possibly be more stable that a draft that has been updated to fix an issue or clarify something.

I think that's actually too simple an analysis. It's often important for 
people to agree, over time, which version of a specification they agreed to 
observe.

Let's say that my organization and yours agree to communicate according to 
some specification S. We set down that agreement in writing, and we point 
to an immutable, dated copy of S. Later it's determined that there is a bug 
in S, or perhaps others start to deploy improvements to the function 
defined in S. Clearly, it's of value to write new versions of the 
specification, say S', that fix the bug or document the improvement.

Still, there can be advantages to having our original agreement reference 
the immutable version S. First of all, it's clear how we've agreed to 
communicate. Secondly, we can then make a conscious decision as to when we 
agree to interoperate using the fixed or improved version S'.

When the community involved is the Internet, then of course deployment of 
new function is incremental. There is value in having specs that evolve 
rapidly and incrementally to reflect new function or best practices.

Still, there are circumstances in which it's better to agree to 
interoperate based on stable, immutable versions of a specification, and to 
make changes explicitly.

Noah
Received on Friday, 19 April 2013 01:29:01 UTC

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