Statement reaffirming stability of the XBRL 2.1 Specification

17th March, 2008


In December 2003 XBRL International (XII) published the 2.1 version of the XBRL Specification. This version of the specification was developed with the intent of providing enhancements that were identified during project implementations utilizing the earlier 2.0 Specification. In order to allow proper evaluation of the 2.1 Specification XBRL International announced a moratorium on modifications to the specification until at least December 2006 (a 3 year period). It remains our belief that a specification designed for highly diverse environments MUST be stable and consistent in order to ensure interoperability of implementations, tools development and market penetration.


Since 2003 there have been many implementations of the current specification in projects around the world and no significant issues have surfaced. There are, as expected, a few issues discovered that were in the nature of errata (often typing errors or ambiguous wording) corrections. These items are addressed (and continue to be addressed) by publishing occasional “errata corrected” updates to the specification, taking care to ensure that backward compatibility is retained.


The consortium has prepared modular, additional and optional specifications which users of XBRL can apply to enhance the base specification. The first of these to reach RECOMMENDATION status was the Dimensions specification. Others in various stages of development address issues such as Formulas (for expressing business rules, validation criteria and fact inference), Rendering (for enabling a standardized way of defining human readable versions of XBRL instance) and Versioning (to assist in taxonomy change management).


Over the past several years practices and experience have evolved the way the specification is applied in various situations and applications. What is clear from this experience is that almost all facets of the original specification have applicability and that virtually none are redundant. It is our belief that changes to the specification at this time would be unnecessarily disruptive to adoption and implementation of XBRL around the world, especially in light of the limited potential gains.


The Board of Directors of XBRL International, following the recommendation of the XBRL Standards Board, is pleased to announce its reaffirmation of the stability of the XBRL 2.1 Specification.