RE: XSLT 2/XPath 2 roadmap
The answer to the question is no. W3C working groups don't publish plans.
In my view that is too sweeping an assertion and potentially misleading. W3C Working Groups vary significantly in what they do or don't publish. Factors such as the level of support from on high in W3C, likely renewal of Charter, personality of Chairman and members etc etc seem to play a part. ... Oh yes, and how often certain members of the community gently request that the Charter be made public. :) ..... Some WGs are quite "closed" and unresponsive. Others are highly interactive with the user community.
The kind of interaction that you and Jeni provide on this list and that Chris Lilley, Jon Ferraiolo and Dean Jackson have provided on SVG-Developers are excellent examples of how W3C WG members can interact with the relevant community.
Many Working Groups publish their Charter, which gives some high level indication of what the group is supposed to achieve and the timetable they are supposed to achieve it in. The Charter might satisfy at least some of Frederic's questions. The XSLT/XPath/XQuery triumvirate don't seem to have published their Charter. I guess I should ask about that on public-qt-comments.
The SVG WG, for example, publishes a Roadmap (see http://www.w3.org/Graphics/SVG/Roadmap.html). In practice, due a host of factors, a roadmap is often a very approximate timetable. Some would say such a timetable is more honoured in the breach. :)
Also, from time to time a WG will publish a Requirements document that transcends several versions. See for example the SVG Requirements document for versions 1.1, 1.2 and 2.0. http://www.w3.org/TR/SVG2Reqs/
Such roadmaps and multi-version requirements documents are obviously not always possible. But they can be very useful to the developer community as an indication of where a WG intends to take a technology.
In fact they don't have any. When a spec goes to last call, the time taken to get to candidate Rec depends entirely on the number of comments received. When it does to candidate Rec, the time takes to get to Rec status depend on how long it takes implementors to come up with implementations and test suites that demonstrate interoperability. "It takes as long as it takes."
The uncertainties you describe are undoubtedly real. Yet it doesn't prevent some groups putting forward publicly quite detailed plans, even if those who read them need to be aware of the uncertainties you mention, and others.
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