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Subject: RE: Use of Optional vs OPTIONAL


I would suggest that RFC 2119 did a pretty good job contradicting or
constraining the convential English meaning of many words it "defines".
Merriam Webster defines one bad case as:

Main Entry: op∑tion∑al
Pronunciation: 'šp-shn&l, -sh&-n&l
Function: adjective
Date: 1792
: involving an option : not compulsory
- op∑tion∑al∑i∑ty /"šp-sh&-'na-l&-tE/ noun
- op∑tion∑al∑ly adverb 

This allows use both in the sense of "optional to implement" and "optional
to appear."  Unfortunately, we as specification writers are stuck with the
conventions 2119 created or summarized.

Another way to describe David's proposal:
OPTIONAL - optional to implement for a compliant MSH
optional - (optional in the XML sense of the word) not required to appear in
an instance of the ebXML Header document or surrounding MIME headers

Does that help?

-----Original Message-----
From: Miller, Robert (GXS) [mailto:Robert.Miller@gxs.ge.com]
Sent: January 25, 2001 09:15
To: ebXML Transport (E-mail)
Subject: RE: Use of Optional vs OPTIONAL


Gosh, I thought RFC 2119 did a pretty good job of pinning down the
conventional English meaning of these words.  

My observation is that people who write specifications sometimes don't give
sufficient thought to the meaning of these words when they first commit them
to paper.  Likewise, people who read specifications sometimes gloss over
these words as well. Perhaps capaitalizing these words would trigger more
brain activity on the part of both writers and readers (provided the writers
write them in upper case rather then perform a blind edit of all case
insensitive occurances to upper case). 

I say let's try it.  If UC screams too load, we can always turn it down with
a globbal edit for final publication.

        Bob Miller

-----Original Message-----
From: Burdett, David [mailto:david.burdett@commerceone.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2001 10:36 AM
To: Martin W Sachs (E-mail)
Cc: ebXML Transport (E-mail)
Subject: Use of Optional vs OPTIONAL


We have been debating on the TRP conference call today on the idea of using
the word OPTIONAL, MUST, etc in upper case meaning that is to be interpreted
precisely as in RFC 2119, but if the words were used in a lower case then
the conventional English usage would apply.

Would this work? Do you see any problems?



Solution Strategy, Commerce One
4400 Rosewood Drive, Pleasanton, CA 94588, USA
Tel: +1 (925) 520 4422 (also voicemail); Pager: +1 (888) 936 9599 
mailto:david.burdett@commerceone.com; Web: http://www.commerceone.com

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