Re: Reminder and Agenda for Confidential Storage Spec Call - Feb 25 2021


Thanks Manu for the thoughtful reply.
Yes, this is a next step. Ideally, we'd map every feature in the spec today to
CouchDB documentation. Chris, it would be good for you to volunteer to do this
since you seem to be the one most driven to demonstrate that this is true.
It's something we're going to have to document in time anyway, to demonstrate
why the work needs to be done (or that W3C shouldn't waste their time on it
because... CouchDB exists). 
Once you document it (not just the list of requirements we've been going over
during the last month, but all the features in the existing spec as well), we
can review it as a group to see if there is consensus.

Sure, I'm happy to make a first pass on this. Any thoughts on the best format / structure?
Zooming out a bit to look at the big picture... thinking about how SQL was
standardized may help. ... <snip>

Totally agree, standardizing SQL is a perfect example.
To replay your point back to you, but in a different context:

MariaDB (a popular open source relational database) covers many of the common
use case needs for relational databases... so why do we need an SQL standard?

To clarify, I'm not arguing we don't need a standard. To work with the same analogy -- if we're building an SQL standard we should be looking very closely at MariaDB (and other prior art / SQL-like implementations) when developing that standard.
The process of standards are not to innovate (at least, not primarily). It's
to look at everything that's out there and try to standardize the simplest set
of technologies that fit a Pareto distribution... that is, what 20% of
features meet 80% of the use cases. The goal isn't to get the standard to
support 100% of all use cases.

Yes, I agree with that.

I guess one of my concerns relates to feeling like we're looking closely enough at what's out there, but as noted above I'm happy to make a start on that with CouchDB. Michael has mentioned some other prior-art (in the replication context) that could be reviewed here. I'm sure there's more and across other contexts? Is there other work to document all the prior art that I have missed?

The point of meeting 80% of use cases is important, but there's some subtlety in that. Is it 80% of the "total use cases" or 80% of the "most important use cases" -- those are two very different things. And are we dropping use cases because they're "too hard with the current spec implementation" or because "they're not that important"?

Regardless, the ability to have a framework of modularising or extending the capabilities seems like something we should seriously consider. That will minimise the risk of developers ignoring the spec because they're locked in to only working with what's provided out of the box.
> I understand CouchDB is not a specification, but as an implementation it's
> pretty darn close to what we're looking for.

I have a vague concept of what your requirements are, Chris. :) I'm sure you
don't have a solid concept of what Digital Bazaar's requirements are...
or Transmute's... or SecureKey's... or Microsoft's... or Michael's. We're just
scratching the surface, these discussions take a LOOOONG time to get to a
basic understanding on everyone's *public* use cases.

... but the way we get there is to talk about it, and documentation of the
sort you're talking about is vital to that process.

Totally agree :) 

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