RE: Postel's Law Has No Exceptions
> From: Joshua Allen [mailto:joshuaa@m...] > Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2003 12:39 AM > To: Simon St.Laurent; xml-dev@l... > Subject: RE: Postel's Law Has No Exceptions > > > > > "The creators of XML were wrong. Postel's Law has no exceptions." > > > > Just to be clear, this is Aaron Swartz's argument, not mine. I > > disagree with Aaron, but for reasons that are not yet coherent enough > to > > post. I figured his provocation was worth some thought, however. > > A fine permathread. I often find myself defending Postel's law against > those who feel that they have discovered an exception. > > I am not a fan of those who claim that XML design is a counterexample to > Postel's law. It's true that XML is not very liberal in what it > accepts, but that is not the same as saying that it is OK to be liberal > in what you send -- I think we risk implicitly endorsing "liberal > senders" by heralding the death of Postel's law. I know I have seen my > fair share of people who think it is OK to send utter crap out on the > wire since "it is the receiver's responsibility to catch the error -- > and stop mentioning Postel's law -- some pundit told me it doesn't apply > to XML". I think XML is a very good example that in some cases, to be conservative in *both* what you send and what you accept makes more sense. Speaking from server implementation experience: just because one popular server chose to be "liberal" (in that case, non-compliant), implementors of competing servers are now forced to implement that buggy behaviour as well -- just because clients are relying on that behaviour. I don't think this was what Jon Postel intended back then. Julian -- <green/>bytes GmbH -- http://www.greenbytes.de -- tel:+492512807760
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