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Subject: Re: [office] The Rule of Least Power

robert_weir@us.ibm.com wrote:

> That is certainly one solution.  But I think that is unsatisfactory to 
> application vendors who wish to extend ODF.  I can certainly imagine 
> situations where we might want to add extensions to Lotus Symphony.  But 
> we cannot assume a homogenous world where everyone runs only Lotus 
> Symphony.  It would not be worth adding extensions unless we had some 
> confidence that they would not be stripped by every other ODF application. 
>  But the general extension mechanism doesn't provide enough information to 
> allow even gross level preservation of extension data under common editing 
> manipulations.

Well, not all use cases deal with editing manipulation. For some of my
customers ODF is just delivery format which can be created by quite
complex work-flow and between steps in this work-flow additional
information in document must be carried. It must be possible to open and
view document at any stage. But no one is interested what will happen
with final result in respect to embedded extension element/attributes.

> This is non-optimal for the application writing the extension as well as 
> the application processing the extended document.  The lack of a way to 
> define safe extensions -- and I believe most are innocuous -- will stall 
> the development and success of all extensions. 

In controlled environment you can use extensions without any problems.
And spec should provide room for such use case.

> The general problem is hard, as you state.  But I think we would hit 95% 
> of uses by having a short list of attributes like preserveOnCopy, 
> preserveOnEdit, preserveOnMove, etc. 

Those attributes seems to be oriented purely towards interaction with
document. I think that even more important is expected behaviour when
document with extensions is loaded/processed. ISO/IEC 29500-3 (Markup
Compatibility and Extensibility) defines quite good mechanism for
defining processing expectations for extension elements/attributes. It
can be taken as a starting point and possibly extended with more precise
controls over interactive editing tasks.

  Jirka Kosek      e-mail: jirka@kosek.cz      http://xmlguru.cz
       Professional XML consulting and training services
  DocBook customization, custom XSLT/XSL-FO document processing
 OASIS DocBook TC member, W3C Invited Expert, ISO JTC1/SC34 member

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