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Re: Design Principles, Section 1.6.1 relationship to HTML 4.01

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Mon, 01 Jun 2009 02:46:27 +0200
Message-ID: <4A2324E3.2000402@malform.no>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
CC: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>, Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Maciej Stachowiak On 09-06-01 00.43:
> On May 31, 2009, at 1:11 PM, Laura Carlson wrote:

>> That is one of the problems with the document. Ambiguous preferences
>> masquerade as principles.
>>
>> The "Do not Reinvent the Wheel" principle in Maciej and Anne’s
>> editor's draft currently says, “If there is already a widely used and
>> implemented technology covering particular use cases, consider
>> specifying that technology in preference to inventing something new
>> for the same purpose. Sometimes, though, new use cases may call for a
>> new approach instead of more extensions on an old approach.”
>>
>> Such language in principles nullifies. It is meaningless. It is not
>> measurable. Does the principle ban reinventing the wheel or not? If
>> yes, say so and leave it at that; if no, forget the rule.
>>
>> Principles that use wishy-washy rhetoric are not principles at all.
>> They are judgment calls, completely subjective to the personal opinion
>> of the person invoking the principle or authoring the spec.
> 
> I guess we disagree on the basics of proper principles for language design.
> 
> If I understand your position correctly, you're saying any rule that 
> can't be stated and obeyed in 100% absolute terms is not worth writing 
> down.

Ahem ...

Principles are principles. Stating clear and unambigous principles 
is one thing. Finding, that in reality, you have to break a 
principle or two, is another thing.


> I disagree.

Who are you arguing with - a strawman?

> Software engineering design is a world of tradeoffs. Often 
> design problems involve balancing multiple competing factors. But that 
> makes it important to be clear about your design goals, and then apply 
> appropriate judgment. It does not mean throw out your design goals. And 
> it does not mean make them absolute rules so the process can work 
> without human judgment.

One can have multiple competing principles. /Then/ we can do the 
tradeoff. You do not need to express all this judgement within the 
principles. Doing /that/ is poor judgement.

Otherwise, I note that you mention "goals".
-- 
leif halvard silli
Received on Monday, 1 June 2009 00:47:08 UTC

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