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See: current policies on making references to W3C specs and making references from W3C specs.

Exploration of the topic given in Specification Guidelines at

What does it mean? When a specification is developed, it relies at its core on other technologies. The Working Group doesn't need to define the core as it is already clearly defined in other specifications. The Working Group has then to identify any specifications which defines the core technologies of the developed technology.

Why care?

For the Working Group, it has an immediate benefit: “do not reinvent the wheel”. Using features which are already defined in other documents helps to minimize the size of the document which is developed and avoid too many ambiguities by rewriting the same concepts.

For the developers, it has the huge benefits of knowing which part of the specification is based on another technology. It makes clear what are the implications for the conformance. It may help them to minimize their work by using conformant libraries already implemented elsewhere.

For the users, it might help them to understand where the technology is coming from and therefore how to use it in combination with other technologies they might already know.

TOWRITE @@including time considerations, super setting or sub setting, and breaking conformance.@@

Bjoern's Mail about the topic: Examples:

  • XML 1.1 makes normative references to any future version of Unicode
  • SVG 1.2 and ICC ?

TODO Graph about different types of Spec Usage and then the influence on references and conformance. See also in W3C Recommendations