Re: [Json] Nudging the English-language vs. formalisms discussion forward

Nico Williams <> Wed, 19 February 2014 17:31 UTC

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Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2014 11:30:50 -0600
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From: Nico Williams <>
To: John Cowan <>
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Cc: Phillip Hallam-Baker <>, Tim Bray <>, Paul Hoffman <>, JSON WG <>
Subject: Re: [Json] Nudging the English-language vs. formalisms discussion forward
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On Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 10:30 AM, John Cowan <> wrote:
> Tim Bray scripsit:
>> I feel that successful Internet interoperation is achieved at the level of
>> syntax; clear specification of which bytes should be sent and which
>> returned.
>   It took me years to realise how deep and important the divide is between
>   wanting an SDK and wanting to know the underlying protocol. Too much of
>   our biz can only see one of these realities. I grew up with networked
>   minicomputers and (mostly) Unix, and maybe that's why, in the final
>   analysis, I always want to see the bits on the wire, because in the
>   final analysis, given any programmable device, I can work with them.
>         --Tim Bray, some time before 2001

I'll grant that SDK-only protocols are bad in this context: because
the protocols then are proprietary (whereas we're the IETF, and we do
open protocols).  I don't see what the problem is with open protocols
with abstract APIs... or, for that matter, message descriptions in
some formal (or even ad-hoc but not just English prose) syntaxes.

Nor do I see the relevance of the above quote to this thread: it's yet
another non-sequitur.

I get that some don't want any JSON schemas, to which my answer is: so
don't use them.  But please refrain from fallacious arguments.