[Standards] long specs

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Wed Feb 15 17:15:20 UTC 2012

On Wed Feb 15 17:00:18 2012, Matthew Wild wrote:
> On 15 February 2012 16:39, Dave Cridland <dave at cridland.net> wrote:
> > On Wed Feb 15 16:38:27 2012, Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
> >>
> >> > a) I'd like to be able to have "stable" and "working" copies  
> of the
> >> > same spec, particularly for major revisions like XEP-0045 is
> >> > currently going through.
> >>
> >> I think this is a matter of best practices for how the spec  
> authors
> >> work, i.e., placing interim versions in a source control branch.
> >>
> >>
> > There are informal methods for handling this, yes - I think we'd  
> benefit
> > from formal ones.
> >
> I'm not overly keen on this. Could you describe a bit more what a
> world where we implement this looks like? Multiple live versions of
> the same spec seems... a step in the wrong direction.

RFC 822 is an Internet Standard (STD 11)

RFC 2822 was a Proposed Standard, which obsoleted RFC 822.

RFC 5322 obsoletes 2822, and is a Draft Standard.

So we're in the interesting position of having a "standard" which is  
obsoleted twice over. This is rather weird - and a bit sucky.

In the XMPP world, this doesn't happen - we only have XEP-0045. But  
for lengthy revision processes, I think having actual published  
sub-versions would make more sense - that is, we have XEP-0045, but  
we also have (say) XEP-0045-1 which might be Experimental. It'd allow  
review cycles to be shorter, but also allow the "newer" spec to be  
seen at an easy to find location.

For a similar example, look at the progression of  
draft-ietf-xmpp-3920bis-XX against RFC 3920. The drafts weren't  
stable (we considered them equivalent in principle to an Experimental  
XEP), up until RFC 6120 was published, when RFC 3920 effectively  
vanished. But it meant that in most cases, we could do incremental  

Our system works great up until Draft, basically, but after that  
things get awkward.

Dave Cridland - mailto:dave at cridland.net - xmpp:dwd at dave.cridland.net
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