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Subject: ODF 1.2 Single-Level Conformance and Law of Unintended Consequences

That was a very interesting discussion on conformance with regard to having a single-level conformant document.

I want to reaffirm that, with the single-level approach, we need to deal with all of those places where implementation-defined features are allowed.  (Another example is in the use of alternative renditions and objects where there is currently no specification of MIME types for recognized ones.)

What I think is more interesting is that having only strictly conforming 1.2 documents may have the unintended consequence of prolonging the life of ODF 1.1 processors and ODF 1.1 documents.  The major ODF 1.2 addition, OpenFormula, is perfectly admissible for usage as a 1.1 table:formula value once that part of the ODF 1.2 specification is stable and available as an OASIS Standard.  It hadn't occured to me until now that there might be an useful transition via ODF 1.0/1.1 with extensions from 1.2 (among others) rather than ODF 1.2 wholesale.  And the prospects for successful ingestion of 1.2 and interchange with implementations of 1.2 processors would remain pretty good.  Hmm. ...

My conservatism around preference for the dual levels has to do with not wanting to eliminate something valuable by mistake.  

(And, of course, having a strictly conformant document is no assurance of interoperability, since a conformant processor, as defined so far, need not provide for the semantics of all features and there are many places of underspecification which remain to be dealt with).  I am all in favor of stricter specification, but not so confident about having *only* (strictly-) conforming documents.

 - Dennis

PS: I am distressed to hear the casual supposition that the RDF metadata can be used to introduce behaviors into a document and its processing and that it can be used to handle extension cases.  It is called metadata, not processing instructions, for a reason.  It might be able to express implementation assumptions or required capabilities (I need a million rows in this table, sort of thing), but there is nothing in the specification that would have a processor attend to the metadata as instructive and there are no agreements on how such concepts would be expressed, any more than with custom metadata.xml entries.  Using RDF for semantic markup (so-called) is very different than extension via elements and attributes and rules for handling unrecognized ones.

Dennis E. Hamilton
NuovoDoc: Design for Document System Interoperability 
mailto:Dennis.Hamilton@acm.org | gsm:+1-206.779.9430 
http://NuovoDoc.com http://ODMA.info/dev/ http://nfoWorks.org 

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