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Re: complexity (was: Re: XHTML and RDF)

From: Orion Adrian <oadrian@hotmail.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2004 17:22:11 -0400
To: www-html@w3.org, www-qa@w3.org
Message-ID: <BAY1-F127CeZHSJR5KG0003c670@hotmail.com>

>I think the discussion should be there, because it's all about process, 
>quality, etc.
>
>Le 08 avr. 2004, à 11:09, Orion Adrian a écrit :
>>Yes. The specs themselves are too complex without regards to their 
>>implementations. If I as an individual can come up with specs that do as 
>>much or more than the existing specs, write the engine for them _and_ 
>>still have the whole thing easier to author, than what the hell is wrong 
>>with the W3C?
>
>Too Complex, or not precise enough?

Too complex.

>To answer to "what the hell is wrong with the W3C?". Nothing. Not in the 
>terms you mean, it's just reality check. We are not living in a perfect 
>world. We are in a situation where from a collective group, you want to 
>achieve something stable with people with different interests, needs, 
>cultures, etc. It's *just group life*.

Some things just aren't best served by a committee. Specs I believe are one 
of them.

>What makes a good specification is a work, we are trying to nail down for a 
>while in the QA Activity. It's not something easy to answer, and I wish we 
>had an answer.
>
>What is a specification?

A specification is a document that describes a process or technology that is 
sufficiently precise enough that people can use the document to implement 
the process or technology in such a way that the desired output always flows 
from a given set of inputs.

>How do you create a collective work?
>How do you keep this work realistic in a consensus building?

Usually with a single author. The American cliche of "Too many cooks in the 
kitchen" is actually founded in reality. Too many authors for a document 
ruin it.

The trick is to have a single author's vision with people commenting on it 
and the primary author actively seeking suggestions on how to improve the 
specification. But always one author or a pair of well coordinated authors.

>How do you preserve minimum interoperability?

A person is capable of making an internally consistent concept with enough 
work, but given too many authors you generally end up with something that 
isn't consistent, but rather a hodgepodge of ideas.

>How do you try to reach maximum interoperability?

Many simple ideas are very extensible without additional constructs. It's 
usually over-specialization that ruins boxes you in. The base technique 
should always be to create abstracted constructs and specific constructs 
that are a collection of these abstracted constructs into something more 
usable.

Float is a good example in CSS. What it really is a something that chops out 
a section of the flow, a positioning value and a display value (in this case 
block).

>Many of the questions are trying to be addressed on the www-qa mailing list 
>for a long time, with or without success depending on the topics. The wiki 
>is also a repository to factorize ideas from people, feel free to edit it.
>
>http://esw.w3.org/topic/MeaningVsBehavior
>http://esw.w3.org/topic/FormalLanguageVsProse
>http://esw.w3.org/topic/ImplementationReport
>http://esw.w3.org/topic/ExtensibilityGoodOrBad
>http://esw.w3.org/topic/ErrorHandling
>http://esw.w3.org/topic/TestableOrNot

I'll take a look at these.

Orion Adrian

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Received on Tuesday, 13 April 2004 17:22:54 GMT

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