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Re: The Rule of Least Power

From: Kevin Braun <kbraun@obj-sys.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2012 09:16:58 -0400
Message-ID: <4FEC594A.3010904@obj-sys.com>
To: xmlschema-dev@w3.org

On 6/27/2012 6:14 AM, Michael Kay wrote:
>
>
> On 21/06/2012 17:44, Costello, Roger L. wrote:
>> Hi Folks,
>>
>> Below is a discussion of the rule of least power and how it applies 
>> to XML Schema design. The rule of least power is very cool. Comments 
>> welcome.  /Roger
>>
>>
>> The rule of least power says that given a choice of suitable ways to 
>> implement something, choose the least powerful way.
>>
> While I can see the arguments, I have to say I am very uncomfortable 
> with this as an architectural principle. A great deal of software 
> design is concerned with building systems that have potential for 
> change, and that means choosing technologies and designs that provide 
> enough headroom to cope with future requirements as well as current 
> requirements. I think this "rule" could be used to justify some really 
> poor design decisions, for example using a text file for data 
> interchange instead of using XML.
>
> Michael Kay
> Saxonica
>
>

In fairness to the authors of the document that Roger mentioned 
(http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/leastPower.html), I think it should be 
pointed out that they actually were addressing, I think, a more narrow 
question.  The referenced paper gives the rule of least power as "Use 
the least powerful language suitable for expressing information, 
constraints or programs on the World Wide Web."  The paper is concerned 
with maximizing the reusability of information published on the Web.  I 
don't believe they intended to establish a broad architectural principle 
such as "choose the least powerful, suitable way to do anything".

Kevin
Received on Thursday, 28 June 2012 13:17:39 UTC

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