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New Least Power Draft

From: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2006 15:25:39 -0500
To: www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF0B7B5EA3.5D49F5D4-ON85257114.006D5BE1-85257114.007034EA@lotus.com>

I am pleased to announce the availability of a new editors' draft of the 
finding on least power.  The primary goals of this version were:

* To include a principle (earlier drafts had only a good practice note)

* To take account of recent emails on Turing completeness, Chomsky 
hierarchies, etc., and to settle the question of whether this is the only 
axis of complexity pertinent to the finding (it isn't) and whether we are 
going to explain Chomsky hierarchies etc. in more detail (we aren't).

* To prepare a draft that would be nearly final.  The general tone of the 
last TAG discussion was that we were getting close to final.  The changes 
in this draft are small in quantity but significant, so they could be a 
step backward for some.  Still, I'm hoping we're close to done.

I think the new draft speaks for itself, but for those who are curious 
about the change of title and the wording of the principle, here's the 
explanation.  If you prefer, just read the draft and skip the following.

*****************************BEGIN EXPLANATION OF 
CHANGES************************************

I've spent the past two weeks trying to formulate PLP as a principle that 
would short, sweet, and accurate.  I wanted something memorable and easily 
quoted.  Candidates were along the lines of "Less powerful languages 
promote information reuse."  I didn't like these for at least two reasons: 
 a) they beg the question "less powerful than what?" and b) they just seem 
a bit lumpy.  I slowly convinced myself that to get something really short 
and punchy, it's better to switch from the merits of less powerful 
languages, to the problems of powerful ones.  So, the principle as drafted 
says:

                "Principle: Powerful languages inhibit information reuse."

FWIW:  I like it and will argue for it. 

I also decided that the existing good practice note remains valuable, and 
I wanted to retain the catchy "least power" name for it.  So, it's now 
introduced with the following two sentences:

"Indeed, on the Web, the least powerful language that's suitable should 
usually be chosen. This is The Rule of Least Power:

============Good Practice Note Box========
Good Practice: Use the least powerful language suitable for expressing 
information, constraints or programs on the World Wide Web."
======================================

So, the Good Practice Note is called the "Rule of Least Power", allowing 
others to easily quote and reference it.  Accordingly, the finding is 
renamed to "The Rule of Least Power". 

I've also added a significant paragraph explaining that many dimensions of 
complexity are important, and that this finding does not attempt to 
characterize them all in detail.

*****************************END EXPLANATION OF 
CHANGES************************************

Noah

[1] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/leastPower.html 
[2] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/leastPower-2006-2-13.html

--------------------------------------
Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
1-617-693-4036
--------------------------------------
Received on Monday, 13 February 2006 20:30:07 GMT

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