[sldev] [PROTOCOL] Protocol Documentation

Zha Ewry zha.ewry at gmail.com
Tue Oct 2 21:37:33 PDT 2007

Short term, sure, what Linden does, is largely what can be done. But.
likewise don't mistake doing that for doing architecture. There is a huge
leap from codifying current practices to actually designing an extensible
architecture, of which the current system is but one exemplar.

An open system, with flexibility, cannot be captured by just code, not even
many, many examples. The contracts which define the system's behavior need
to be articulated. The range of possible parameters, the acceptable
sequences of calls, the possible responses all need to be enumerated.
Further, it isn't just a matter of describing all the services, one after
the other. It is necessary to describe the dependencies between them.

"You must pass in a capability for this operation, one that is current, from
the domain of the service being subordinately invoked, and you may receive
either the result you expect  or a capability to invoke which will perform
the operation." for example,may be one part of such a description.

I don't expect this to happen at once. In fact, that would likely be fatally
wrong. There is however, a reasonable progression likely need be followed.
For example, the c-http specification as described in the wiki gets closer
to being real documentation.

Similar pages, for all the proposed core underlying protocols, coupled with
some rigorous definitions of terms, such as "capability" would help ground
the exercise of describing all the interactions we expect to enumerate.
Ideally, that, coupled with sample implementations and sample services,
starting with a full "echo" and other trivial services, and building up to
more complex examples would go a long way to help us both pin down the
proposed building blocks, and define a level of documentation and design
rigor which will lead to a genuine open architecture and design, not a mere
capturing of what Linden is building.

- Zha
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