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

Peter Saint-Andre <stpeter@stpeter.im> Mon, 11 July 2011 14:00 UTC

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Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2011 08:00:33 -0600
From: Peter Saint-Andre <stpeter@stpeter.im>
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Cc: dcrocker@bbiw.net, "apps-discuss@ietf.org" <apps-discuss@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: [apps-discuss] "X-" revisited
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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'll push out a revised I-D today, then we can discuss it further on the
list and in Quebec City.

/psa