Thanks to the huge efforts from Karl, Lynne and Lofton, the Quality Assurance Working Group was able to release a set of new versions of its documents, including a “brand-new” document, Variability in Specifications.
Most of the work has been focused on the Specifications Guidelines, which have gone through a thorough re-design since February, and, much in the spirit of the WebArch document, tries to be both useful and easy to read to convey some of the most important principles to follow when designing a specification to become a standard. The document isn’t fully ready yet, but I expect the on-going work on it will let us publish a Last Call document in October.
Meanwhile, I hope to complete somewhat Variability in Specifications; while this one is much more theoretical than the Specification Guidelines, it raises some really interesting questions on what design decisions may affect the actual use of a specification as a standard, touching one of the deepest tension that I see in the work W3C does: W3C produces technical standards, meaning that it produces documents that describes technologies that it wants other people to use as references for implementations; the tension is between the technological aspect (more features, more coolness) and the standardization aspect (less features, more implementability). That’s caricatured, obviously, but I’m hoping the document will be able to help specifications designers find a good balance, or at least help understand what is at stake.