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Subject: Re: [office-collab] WD04 comments [2 Andreas]

First of all some comments on the content of WD 04:

cover page: I will address the sentence "The intention is to provoke
constructive comments from the wider community in order for the TC to
direct the subcommittee on the way forward." in the second part of these
comments when I address the purpose of the document.

Chapter 1 Introduction: "Each approach has its own strengths and
weaknesses and the subcommittee has not been able to reach agreement
about which should be adopted, or indeed if some other different
approach is more appropriate." I don't think that the subcommittee has
even seriously attempted to reach agreement on whether one or the other
proposal should be adopted. It seems to me that the primary work so far
has only been to determine whether the two proposals could in fact
represent various change tracking scenarios. So the statement that the
committee "has not been able" is really inaccurate.

"In January 2011 there was one proposal, the GCT (Generic Change
Tracking) proposal. Microsoft indicated that they were concerned that
this was not the best approach and therefore submitted a new proposal,
ECT (Extended Change Tracking), at the end of March 2011." If this
document is really intended to be understood by a non-TC member, this
section should contain references to the location where these proposals
can be obtained. Note that the GCT proposal in the OASIS document
repository was submitted in March, so what does it mean that there was
one proposal in January? Similarly the ECT proposal seemed to have been
committed to the repository on April 1, not at the end of March.

Section 1.1 in the current form would (in my opinion) not be acceptable
in an approved document. I don't think we should have the phrase "Common
Alerting Protocol Version 1.2" in this document. This section should
surely contain references to where the reader of the document could
obtain the proposals discussed.  

Chapter 2: "A generic approach lends itself to a modular implementation,
a goal of the TC." Did the TC in fact decide that a modular
implementation is desired?

Chapter 3: "In addition to supporting new use cases as described below,
we propose expanding the prose that describes the current change
tracking support to make its intended use and scope more explicit. This
expanded prose is not part of this proposal." What is meant with saying
that "we propose expanding..." but that that would not part of the ECT
proposal. If it isn't part of the ECT proposal why is it being discussed
within the overview of the ECT proposal?

Chapter 4: The terms "Partial support", "Wide support", "Full support"
should be defined. For example I would have expected that the GCT column
contains primarily "Not Applicable" since the GCT proposal deals with
the xml representation but not with the higher level ODF document types.
How does "Full support" differ from "Supported"? In the second table,
what does "Same as content" mean?

Chapter 5: Footnote 18 refers to the wiki for details on the use cases.
While the wiki page in fact lists the use cases the links for each use
case, where one would expect a description of the use cases" lead to
non-existing pages. So these use cases appear to be unavailable to the
reader of WD4.

Chapter 6: What does "by definition" in "they will by definition create
backwards-compatibility issues" mean? 

I wholeheartedly disagree with "Therefore the major issues identified in
the SC discussions have been addressed." While there has been some
language added to the GCT proposal that could avoid the deleted text
issue this is not yet a requirement in the GCT specification. 

"Many (probably most) applications do not use the ODF XML model
internally and therefore there is concern that the approach of GCT,
whereby the change representation is driven by the XML representation,
will be difficult to implement in a “non-xml internal data model
application”. The use case implementations have demonstrated that it can
be done." Really? I do not see how the use cases have even remotely
addressed this issue. 

7.2 "Verbose for some changes, e.g. row insertion in a spreadsheet"
Really? I would think that column insertion is verbose but row insertion

Chapter 9 appears horribly mistitled: It pretends to provide conclusions
but really poses a large number of questions.

I suspect that OASIS documents should use American English rather than
British English. This document seems to use British spellings. (Of
course as Canadian I don't really mind.)

Finally some comments on the purpose of this document: "The intention is
to provoke constructive comments from the wider community in order for
the TC to direct the subcommittee on the way forward". If this is truly
the intention , than I am greatly worried about the procedure: We are
asking the wider community that is not sufficiently interested to in
fact participate in the TC/SC for comments that are supposed to give the
TC guidance to "direct"  the subcommittee on how to proceed? So if one
can rally a sufficient number of externals to recommend XCT, then the TC
will direct the SC to proceed with that proposal?

When we publish a specification for comments the purpose is to have a
fresh set of eyes review to proposal to see whether anything has gone
badly astray or whether important things were missed or are
insufficiently (or incorrectly explained). That is very different from
what this document seems to intend to achieve. 

If one asks a question to the wider community we should be clear about
what we are planning to do with the answers we may receive. 

Since the are many more text than spreadsheet documents and since ODF
had neglected spreadsheet documents until version 1.2, the largest use
of ODF is probably for text documents. So it would be reasonable to
expect that most of the feedback one might receive on such a Committee
Note would be with respect to text documents. Will this be used as a
justification to again ignore spreadsheet documents when specifying
change tracking? Personally I find it quite misleading/dangerous to asks
questions without having deciding what to do with the answers.   


Andreas J. Guelzow, PhD, FTICA
Concordia University College of Alberta

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