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Thu, 23 Dec 2004

Over designing standards - 22:55
Recently at some XML conference (XML Dev Con 2004) Tim Bray from Sun spoke about standards design. After my complaints yesterday concerning complex standards this seemed somewhat appropriate. In his presentation Bray said something along the lines of "Whenever people are complaining that a standard is too simple for their application, that's a good indication that the standard is going to be a hit" (source). He was also quoted as saying "If you don't have an urgent burning requirement for things right now. You ain't going to need it. Failed standards have too much stuff in them." (source)

Both these are relevant, both to standards design and simply to programming. Do not do premature design or try to design for features you imagine you may one day want to use. Extreme Programming though of course simply another selection of tools in the programmers toolbox (and not the second coming as some people seem to think) does have some good points. One of which is the avoidance of premature design or coding for "future" features. The ACAP standards yesterday struck me as over engineered for a few basic things to attach to IMAP, using my example of the need for an address book that is accessible with your email. If an email client was to implement an address book functionality in ACAP, it would still need to decide on the format of the address book data in ACAP, and other clients would need to implement this and agree on this also.

Anyway back to the subject of conferences, Rory was covering the XML conference in an amusing manner, and at one point for example paid quite a lot of attention to the shoes worn by a speaker. The shoes a speaker wears are obviously important and must be blogged or covered in some way at conferences. For we will obviously need to ensure there is online coverage of what shoes speakers are wearing. Mikal will I am sure be keen to self nominate for this task of telling the world about the speakers shoes, even uploading some photographs of their shoes maybe. Lets hope the speakers understand and do not become too freaked out by this behaviour.

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