Why Have Design Principles? (was Re: Design Principles Document update)

Hi David,

On Mar 31, 2007, at 8:58 AM, Dailey, David P. wrote:

> I don't think I'm ready to dispute or even contradict, as I am  
> unclear as to the force that these "Principles" will have in  
> structuring the future of our discussions.

Here's my idea of what they are for. The HTML5 effort under WHATWG,  
and much of the work on various W3C standards over the past few  
years, are clearly based on different goals and different ideas of  
what makes for good design. In this working group, we have people  
from both communities.

If we don't come to any agreement on goals and design approach, then  
we will find it impossible to make productive progress on a spec.  
We'll end up re-arguing the underlying issues each time we hit a  
specific point of disagreement.

This is why I tried to record what I think are the implicit design  
rules followed by the WHATWG community, as a starting point to  
consensus on goals. Many of these goals are also directly related to  
our charter requirements.

Nevertheless, there might be people who have deep disagreement on  
these principles, particularly the weight given to compatibility and  
practical use-cases over abstract architectural issues. Such people  
might find it more productive to work on XHTML2 and XForms instead.

> If, for example, someone were to use "Don't reinvent the wheel" as  
> augmented by "Evolution not Revolution" as a way to dismiss a  
> proposal that "a direct mode graphics canvas" or "copy and paste"  
> or "XABC modulo HTML" (examples only) become enabled, then I would  
> have to fuss.

I don't think it would lead to dismissing such features, just  
checking what existing implementations do. It probably would be used  
to dismiss a proposal to make a new direct mode graphics API that is  
incompatible with <canvas> as implemented by Mozilla, Opera and  
Safari, or to do copy-paste in a way that widely differs from what  
Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla and Opera implement.

I snipped the rest of your message because I'm not sure what it  
means. The intent for these principles is that they are pragmatic  
rules of thumb that must be balanced against each other, not that  
they have some mystical significance. They are similar in spirit to  
the TAG's findings at <http://www.w3.org/TR/webarch/>, but specific  
to the deliverables of this group.


Received on Sunday, 1 April 2007 22:31:17 UTC