I see over on Alex Brown’s blog that the results of the BRM are publicly available now. There are two documents available from the SC34 web site:
- Edited Notes of the Meeting
(rough notes of the meeting, including resolutions, points raised in discussions, and related comments)
- Resolutions of the Meeting
(subset of the above document, containing only the resolutions that were passed)
These documents show the specific resolutions that were passed at the BRM, and are the definitive record of what was accomplished. I saw that Brian Jones provided some thoughts on a few of the major areas of progress earlier this week, and now you can look at these documents and see exactly how those items were resolved. The goal of the BRM is to improve the text of the standard, so the resolutions are always phrased as specific editing instructions for the project editor.
Here’s one example of how that worked: Resolution 21, covering the differences between ECMA-376:2006 and ISO/IEC 29500. Here’s the text from the resolutions document above:
Resolution 21: The BRM decides to instruct the Editor to incorporate an informative specification of the following, with a reference to it from the Scope:
– All XML elements which appear in ISO/IEC 29500 but do not appear in ECMA-376:2006
– All XML elements which do not appear in ISO/IEC 29500 but appear in ECMA-376:2006
– All XML attributes which appear in ISO/IEC 29500 but do not appear in ECMA-376:2006
– All XML attributes which do not appear in ISO/IEC 29500 but appear in ECMA-376:2006
– All enumeration values which appear in ISO/IEC 29500 but do not appear in ECMA-376:2006
– All enumeration values which do not appear in ISO/IEC 29500 but appear in ECMA-376:2006
– All simple types which appear in ISO/IEC 29500 but do not appear in ECMA-376:2006
– All simple types which do not appear in ISO/IEC 29500 but appear in ECMA-376:2006
So in that case, the editor has been instructed to add informative text that lists these various differences, and then reference that informative text from the Scope clause. This was decided because some people felt that these differences would be important to those who have large quantities of ECMA-376 documents that may use features which have been altered or removed in the final revised DIS 29500 text.
It’s been interesting to see how much time various people are devoting to spinning the BRM in the days since it concluded. Now that the actual minutes are available, I’m hoping the spin can slow down and we can all get focused on the real output of the BRM, which was a series of consensus decisions about various editorial and technical issues. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but the consensus of the BRM delegates was well-documented and isn’t something we need to speculate about any longer now that the documents are publicly available.
Resolution 21 above, for example, is the only resolution that covers ECMA-376 documents, but you might have got a different impression from Yoon Kit’s post last Friday:
We eventually found out that if any changes affected current implementations it would certainly be rejected. This seriously compromised any elegant solutions, and it forced us to be mindful of the “existing corpus of documents” in the wild. I personally don’t believe that that should be our problem, but there was a large and vocal voting bloc which would oppose any changes to the spec which would ‘break’ Ecma 376.
In this case, the majority consensus in the BRM was that compatibility with ECMA-376 documents is important enough to merit accurate documentation of the breaking changes between ECMA-376 and ISO/IEC 29500. Many such changes have been made, which implementers of ECMA-376 will need to deal with, and I think identifying these changes was a good addition. Resolution 21 passed without objections, so it seems most everyone at the BRM felt the same way about that one.
I’ll post some thoughts on other specific resolutions in the days ahead. If there are any specific topics you’ve heard were decided at the BRM and you’d like to understand better, let me know and I’ll start with those.
By the way, if you were at the BRM I hope you picked up one of those cool “Have you read all 6,000 pages?” stickers they were passing out outside the elevators leading in and out of the room. I love mine …