[rfc-i] On backwards compatibility for v2

Nico Williams nico at cryptonector.com
Mon Feb 10 14:29:02 PST 2014


On Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 4:15 PM, Ted Lemon <mellon at fugue.com> wrote:
> One important reason why v2 compatibility is better achieved through translation is that it allows workarounds to be translated into idioms, rather than requiring that workarounds be preserved intact.

+1

We're using XML, which means that XSLT is *the* language of choice for
writing converters between similar schemas.  Many are already using
XSLT likely without knowing it (e.g., via Greenbytes' converters).
Anyone who has written even a modicum of XSL will agree that a
converter between the v2 we know and the v3 we're sketching is utterly
doable (and in all likelihood simple).

One effort (backwards-compat w/o a converter) means tossing lots of
special cases into xml2rfc.  The other means one special case: if v2,
convert first.  The converter can be developed in parallel or later,
and it can be crowd-sourced (e.g., I might volunteer one).

If we trust that we're using XML for its power then we should opt for
conversion over backwards-compatibility.  Else one has to wonder why
bother with XML.

I'll grant one argument: ease the user learning curve by letting them
mix v2 and v3 content.  That might yet be a winner of an argument,
though I doubt it.

Nico
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