Re: References and Modularity

On Wednesday 2013-05-29 12:02 +0200, Robin Berjon wrote:
> There is a strong tension, if not a strict incompatibility, between
> modularity and stable references. Modularity requires some degree of
> dynamic linking, or of independent layering. Stable references push in a
> different direction. I think that we need flexible rules based on
> expectation of good design, even if it means longer, harder transition
> calls.

I'm pretty strongly on the modularity side of this balance.  I think
there have been areas where the concept of normative reference to
specific versions has been taken *way* too far.  I think one of the
worst examples was IDNA, which led to bugs being filed such as .  I think it's
preposterous that different attribute values in the same document
should be expected to have different conversions from a URI
reference in string form to URI semantics.  It's excessive
complexity for both implementors and users of the platform.
Instead, new technology needs to be designed around real
compatibility problems while not getting stuck debating
compatibility problems that are purely theoretical.  (Yes, there's a
continuum there that sometimes requires real judgment calls.  Making
those calls is our job, and we shouldn't shy away from it.)

I've also been meaning to blog about this for a number of years (the
planned part 2 to follow ).
Hopefully I'll get a chance to finish writing that post sometime.

Frankly, I would want to treat any normative reference to a specific
version of a specification as inherently suspicious except when the
reference is to a specification-definition tool such as WebIDL,
since such a reference is likely to be a sign of poor modularity.


𝄞   L. David Baron                  𝄂
𝄢   Mozilla                    𝄂

Received on Thursday, 30 May 2013 04:36:51 UTC