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Re: Design Principles, Section 1.6.1 relationship to HTML 4.01

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 31 May 2009 15:11:30 -0500
Message-ID: <1c8dbcaa0905311311h12a3f0f5wbf130f69044995ef@mail.gmail.com>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>, Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
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.”

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.

Best Regards,
“A good principle, not rightly understood, may prove as hurtful as a
bad.” Milton.

Laura Carlson
Received on Sunday, 31 May 2009 20:12:02 UTC

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