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RE: [xml-dev] Why do W3C specifications have "implementation defined"=?UTF-8?Q?parts=3F?=


OASIS has normative and non-normative specifications.

Simply put standards bodies cannot hope to define everything for every circumstance.  Often you encounter situations where you can provide guidelines - some basic XML constructs - but actual behaviours and interactions will depend on the application context and use - so you allow implementers discretion.

This particularly applies to boundary conditions and interfaces outside of the core scope of your specification.

Roger - fundamentally the universe just does not work that way.  You can say E=mc2 - but watch out for edge conditions and behaviours you did not expect!  E.g. what exactly is mass?

; -)


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [xml-dev] Why do W3C specifications have "implementation
defined" parts?
From: "Costello, Roger L." <costello@mitre.org>
Date: Thu, April 08, 2010 8:06 am
To: "xml-dev@lists.xml.org" <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>

Hi Folks,

In many of the W3C specifications there are parts that are "implementation defined."

To give one example, in the XSLT specification it says this about the <xsl:message> element [1]:

The xsl:message instruction sends a message in an implementation-defined way.
The xsl:message instruction causes the creation of a new document, which is
typically serialized and output to an implementation-defined destination.


1. The purpose of a specification is to define a standard. Doesn't "implementation defined" defeat that purpose since it means that each vendor will define their implementation in their own way, thereby obviating standardization?

2.Is this unique to the W3C? Do other standards organizations also have "implementation defined" sections in their specifications?


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/REC-xslt20-20070123/#message


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