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sarif message

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Subject: Research on keyword usage

I’ve now read the various references on keyword usage. I also examined OData v4.0 Part 1 Protocol (the OASIS standard), as Stefan suggested. Here’s what I know so far:


  1. RFC 2119/RFC 8174 require normative keywords to be in upper case. ISO Directives Part 2 permits normative keywords to be upper case. So if you want to be both OASIS-conformant and ISO-ready, use upper case. We already do that.

  2. RFC 2119 allows MUST as a synonym for SHALL. ISO Directives Part 2 does not allow MUST. So it seems that if we want to be ISO-ready, we should use SHALL everywhere (but hold on! I’m not done yet…)

  3. The OASIS keyword guidelines FAQ say this:

    As an editor, why would I use ISO keywords instead of RFC in a specification?

    If you are planning on submitting an OASIS TC Specification or Standard to ISO/IEC, you can use [RFC 2119] keywords on a first submission.4 However, on subsequent submissions, you will be required to conform to [ISO/IEC Directives], which will require use of ISO keywords.

    So again, it seems that if we want to be ISO-ready, we should use SHALL everywhere, because otherwise ISO will make us change it.

  4. The OData v4.0 Part 1 Protocol (the OASIS standard) uses MUST everywhere.


  5. In an earlier thread on this topic, Stefan wrote:

    as OASIS is a public accepted submitter to ISO and with OData as an
    example, we had no trouble after we made the OASIS Standard stage,
    to also submit unchanged to ISO, fill in a form, where OASIS stated,
    that the TC would continue to work on future versions, and then we
    waited for the many months election period and the bunch of OData
    standards was concat and wrapped as i[s]  and is now an ISO standard -
    for free.

    That makes it sound like we did not have to change to ISO keywords, which contradicts what the OASIS keyword guidelines FAQ says.


So Chet, could you please clarify? Are the ISO and OASIS versions of the OData standard identical – do they both use RFC 2119 keywords? [NOTE: I’d rather not have to buy a copy of the ISO standard to find the answer!] Is the OASIS keyword guidelines FAQ wrong, or out of date, on this point?


Thanks for your help!


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