Re: [apps-discuss] "X-" revisited

Peter Saint-Andre <stpeter@stpeter.im> Mon, 11 July 2011 15:50 UTC

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Cc: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>, "apps-discuss@ietf.org" <apps-discuss@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: [apps-discuss] "X-" revisited
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On 7/11/11 8:41 AM, Dave CROCKER wrote:
> 
> 
> On 7/11/2011 7:00 AM, Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
>> On 7/10/11 7:18 PM, Mark Nottingham wrote:
>>>
>>> On 07/07/2011, at 6:53 AM, Dave CROCKER wrote:
>>>
>>>> (Entire topic:  X- was a good idea to avoid collisions with
>>>> standards, but turns out to be a much worse idea for uses that
>>>> become standards.  So, don't use X-".)
>>>
>>> Can we get this into the abstract... or make it the abstract?
>>
>> Wordsmithed in my working copy to:
>>
>>     Many application protocols use named parameters to identify data
>>     (media types, header fields in Internet mail messages and HTTP
>>     requests, etc.).  Historically, protocol designers and implementers
>>     have often distinguished between "standard" and "non-standard"
>>     parameters by prefixing the latter with the string "X-" or similar
>>     constructions (e.g., "x."), where the "X" is commonly understood to
>>     stand for "eXperimental" or "eXtension".  Although in theory the "X-"
>>     convention was a good way to avoid collisions between standard
>>     parameters and non-standard parameters, in practice the costs
>>     associated with leakage of non-standard parameters into the standards
>>     space outweigh the benefits.  Therefore this document deprecates the
>>     "X-" convention for most application protocols.
> 
> I like the paragraph.
> 
> The specific re-casting of my terse "entire topic" statement is in the
> sentence:
> 
>>      Although in theory the "X-"
>>>     convention was a good way to avoid collisions between standard
>>>     parameters and non-standard parameters, in practice the costs
>>>     associated with leakage of non-standard parameters into the
>>> standards
>>>     space outweigh the benefits.
> 
> That looks fine, except that and I'd suggest saying evolution or
> movement, rather than leakage.
> 
> Whether the standardization is intentional or not, it's viewed as a Good
> Thing, whereas "leakage" is typically taken as a negative.

True. I've changed all instances of "leak[age]" to "advance[ment]". I
think of the "X-" area as the wrong side of the tracks, and advancement
into the non-"X-" area as moving up in the world. :)

I'll submit -02 shortly and look forward to making -03 after IETF 81.

Peter

-- 
Peter Saint-Andre
https://stpeter.im/