"Clean Specs"

Rick Jelliffe ricko at allette.com.au
Mon Feb 8 16:01:08 GMT 1999

From: Ronald Bourret <rbourret at ito.tu-darmstadt.de>

Tim Bray wrote:

>> I think that (namespace) spec is *way* better than the XML spec.

I think the XML Spec is pretty good, actually. Tim and the others did
a great job.

>I've quoted this out of order because I think it is a very important
>and one that has bothered me during this whole discussion.  Tim is
>absolutely correct here -- the namespaces spec is *way* better than the

The first draft-parts of the namespace spec (Appendix A) are lousy. And
I think they are incorrect. I am attaching the comment I sent in to the
namespace effort (alas too late), in the hope that some people might
it interesting or useful. I would don't want to put it on a public
because, having had my chance and having had my opinion not taken up,
I think it is poor sportsmanship to continue whinging.

I pushed hard early on for the PI approach. But I changed my mind for
reason only: the need to support HTML-in-XML and XML-in-HTML.
The major application of namespaces may well be embedding things in
HTML: the PI option is not realistic for a couple of years.  To be
I don't think Namespaces would have been acceptable to HTML users
with the PI option. The need to support HTML developed as a goal during
the namespace discussions, and I consider it the key tradeoff factor.

>> This group is notably and vocally dissatisfied with the specs, I
>> am watching with attention for concrete suggestions as to how
>> to make future specs better - the one premise that seems to get
>> consensus, in this group at least, is "more examples

I am attaching my comment. Appendix A.2. and A.3 are poor in thought,
and close off nice doors that should be kept open.

>> Having said all that, people who write specs always have to try to
>> do a better job next time, so this recent discourse is very very
>Thanks for listening.  I hope this has been helpful.

At ISO now, you have to have a user model for who you are writing the
spec for. Having a target education and technical background for your
is a great discipline. Perhaps specs should clearly include at their
head a
notice stating the intended readers.


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