W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-rdf-wg@w3.org > March 2011

should we standardize things not yet widely deployed?

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 05 Mar 2011 20:24:47 -0500
To: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>
Cc: RDF Working Group WG <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <1299374687.2012.525.camel@waldron>
On Sat, 2011-03-05 at 17:29 +0000, Richard Cyganiak wrote:
> [a rant on the purpose of standardization groups; slightly off-topic]
> The problem we face is that the specs are several years behind what's actually deployed and in active use. I'd prefer to see this WG spending its time on dragging the specs forward to catch up with reality as deployed and in active use. This WG is simply the wrong venue for speculating about the one feature that would make the whole world embrace RDF if it was added. If you have an opinion on that, then by all means round up some like-minded people and get busy coding/writing it up. That's R&D, and it's an extremely important part of advancing our case; in fact, I know that many members of this WG spend a lot of their non-WG time on this sort of activity. But standardization has to *follow* successful R&D. It cannot lead it.

I think you're oversimplifying the interplay of invention, adoption, and
standardization.   Features that are only useful for large-scale
interchange are unlikely to be adopted before standardization.
Sometimes people developing a long-term market need to look down the
road, past some short-term market dynamics.  Can you imagine if there
were 75 different standards for encoding movies onto plastic disks, all
competing in the market for many years before a standard was made?
That's not what happens, because the folks making movie players want a
standard *before* they invest in manufacturing.

RDF itself was standardized before significant deployment, twice.  You
could argue that caused many of its problems, and I'd agree.  On the
other hand, what was the alternative?  Before being a standard [1], its
prospects were even worse.

So, yes, I agree we should follow deployment experience where we have
it.  But I think it's also okay, once in a while, to standardize ahead
of the market, if we have no other good options.  

   -- Sandro

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/NOTE-MCF-XML-970624/
Received on Sunday, 6 March 2011 01:25:00 UTC

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