Re: Re: validating hairy data models (was Attribute
From: "David Brownell" <david-b@p...> > From: "Rick Jelliffe" <ricko@a...> > > Executable specs > > for standards (such as IDL) are quite a lot better, but most > > specs are not for interfaces. > > Umm ... IDL isn't executable. That's the point. It covers > interface syntax (like BNF) not behavior. Behavior gets > described in natural language. I've made that same > point about needing natural language to describe > behavior. Most people wouldn't know a formal semantic > specification language if it bit them ... :) Doh. I should have said "machine-exercisable" I guess. Meaning that there are formalisms that cannot be machine-checked and formalisms that can (to some extent). Look at the bogus formalism of the RDF specs' BNF: if they had been able to validate that life would have been much simpler. (I.e., given some valid RDF, you can point out which bits in the productions correspond to which bits in your data, but to actually parse the data using those productions is not at all straightforward, as the recent attempts to re-formulate the RDF-in-XML syntax have shown.) > That model of standards doesn't work so well with W3C since > essential parts of the "original intent" are hidden behind closed > doors. Yes. > More to the point: In your scenario, that community has a clear > responsibility to clearly describe that original intent. That's what > the specification is for, and what specification errata address. Yes. Actually, it works both ways: the community needs to articulate the gaps in the formal spec, and newcomers into the community need to err on the side of agreeing with the community rather that making their own interpretation of the gaps. Of course, what the community is or should be is another matter. I guess I have been using it as a code word for the inventors, maintainers and implementors, rather than users. > To some extent, additional specifications (XML Infoset in the > case of attributes) can augment the base specification. I think there should always be a quasi-judicial process available to help sort out ambiguities in specs. That is why errata documents are useful. Cheers Rick Jelliffe
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