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What is reference implementation?

I have seen the following statements somewhere on the JSTL website:
"JSTL (JSP Standard Tag Libraries) is a collection of JSP custom tags developed by Java Community Process, www.jcp.org. The reference implementation is developed by the Jakarta project, jakarta.apache.org."
May I know what is reference implementation? Is reference implementation refer to the examples provided along with the download?

(Note: I have read its definition here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reference_implementation)
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william007
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william007
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2 Solutions
 
bloodredsunCommented:
The reference implementation (RI) normally means the example (reference) implementation of a certain set of specifications.

The benefit of using the RI is that it adheres exactly to the specifications so code that runs on the RI should run on any other implementation. This means that other people or companies can produce another implementation which follow the same specifications which may do things in a different way but have the same result.

Another example of a RI would be Tomcat. Tomcat is the RI of the Servlet and JSP container specs although there are other implementations of the servlet and jsp spec such as Resin.
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william007Author Commented:
So, in term of JSTL, what is the reference implementation?
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colr__Commented:
The reference implementation is the implementation of the java APIS produced by Sun Microsystems. With each standard that is prposed by Sun, they produce a reference implementation as a working example of how it will work.

colr__
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gksinghietCommented:
JSTL specifys you a set of tags and associated APIs used to implement those tags but it doesn't say how actually they are being implemented. So any implementation adhering to those specification can be stated as its reference implementation.
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colr__Commented:
Thats not strictly true, the reference implementation is not "any" implementation but the implementation that the publication your reading  is referncing.

Certain books may refer to a "reference implementation" which means youll have to find out what specific implementation they are talking, i.e. referrring to (usually tells you at the start of the book, but if it doesnt, its a safe bet they are talking about Suns implementation). It depends on what you are reading and therefore what it is referring to.

colr__
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bloodredsunCommented:
>>So, in term of JSTL, what is the reference implementation?

The ones produced by apache jakarta http://jakarta.apache.org/taglibs/doc/standard-doc/intro.html

As to the other comments, gksinghiet is incorrect and colr__ is partially correct. There is only one reference implementation per set of specifications but it is not always the Sun implementation. For the JVM that is correct as Sun make the RI (as opposed to BEA's JRockit) but for many other technologies such as JSTL, Tomcat and Axis, other parties, most commonly apache/jakarta, are responsible for the RI.
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Siva Prasanna KumarPrincipal Solutions ArchitectCommented:
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Siva Prasanna KumarPrincipal Solutions ArchitectCommented:
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william007Author Commented:
Thanks:-)
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