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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 02:13:12 +0200
Message-ID: <4A231D18.2050609@malform.no>
To: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
CC: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>, Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Laura Carlson On 09-05-31 22.11:
> David wrote:
>>> Our WG's mail archives reveal numerous examples of historic instances where
>>>  reinventing the wheel proved to be good technology policy
> Maciej replied:
>> this principle states a design preference
> 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.”

Now that you quote it, it is funny how this sounds very much like 
the "consider cowpaths" principle ...

> 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.

One of the HTML _4_ design principles went something like this: 
"add tables". You could argue that "add tables" is not a 
principle. But it is very measurable.

The HTML 5 principles, OTOH, are more "principle-like", but fails 
to follow its very own "Priority of Constituencies" principle [1]:

  In case of conflict, consider users over authors over
  implementors over specifiers over theoretical purity.

In other words: They would have been more helpful if they did not 
insist on theoretical purity with regard to what a principle looks 
like, but instead had focused on measurable goals.

leif halvard silli
Received on Monday, 1 June 2009 00:13:52 UTC

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