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Re: Finishing(!) the XML-tagging discussion

At 02:50 PM 3/20/00 -0500, Keith Moore wrote:
or to put it another way, if we're going to invent a new syntatical
convention for describing content-type characteristics, let's
pick one that actually works with content negotiation
rather than one which requires drastic changes to content
negotiation frameworks.

in a sense, it doesn't break anything.  in another sense, it
creates a new feature of content-type names that can be exploited,
and people will demand that they be exploited.  so it requires
changes of existing implementations.  and if the -xml feature catches
on then it will creep into content-type negotiation schemes.  this is
not an intended consequence, but it is a likely one.

Your concern here, then, is what people *might* do to abuse the feature in future?

Given that the *intent* of the '-xml' seems to be quite benign, and is perceived by many to be quite useful, may I suggest that:

(a) the proposal is presented as nothing more than a naming *convention*, plastered with health warnings about NOT using it for content negotiation, or any purpose other than local identification of XML for possible fall-back submission to a generic XML handler, and

(b) introduce at the same time a proposal that will allow people to definitively tag XML for the purposes of content negotiation, and refer to this proposal from (a).

My thinking is a "carrot and stick" approach to resisting the harmful usage that concerns you: be very clear that bad things will happen if the feature is abused, AND provide a mechanism to achieve the desired results (for content negotiation, etc.) without incurring the harm.

I think there are two distinct sets of requirements here:

(a) is a local convention that can be used transparently as far as existing agents are concerned,


(b) relates to new capabilities (hence new/upgraded software) that require the active cooperation of two or more communicating parties.

I think much of the present debate arises because these requirements are being confused.


Graham Klyne