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Re: Principle of Least Power

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 12:05:22 -0800
Message-Id: <9845A21A-11FD-45C7-89D3-12D265C75CB3@gbiv.com>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org
To: Norman Walsh <Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM>

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On Aug 22, 2005, at 2:21 PM, Norman Walsh wrote:

> At the June 2005 TAG f2f[1] meeting we observed that the web
> architecture document doesn't offer the principle of least power as a
> principle of web architecture. Roy and I agreed[2] to review
> TimBL's text[3] along these lines.
>
> I think the text describes the situation adequately and I'd be
> prepared to accept it as a principle for some future version of the
> web arch document or a related document with whatever editorial
> changes were deemed necessary to fit it neatly into the new document.
>
> I propose that this message completes this action (#9 from [4]).
>
>                                         Be seeing you,
>                                           norm
>
> [1] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2005/06/14-16-minutes.html
> [2] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2005/06/14-16-minutes.html#action033
> [3] http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Principles.html#PLP
> [4] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2005/03/action-summary.html


I agree that it makes sense to capture this as a Web architecture
principle, though I am less enthusiastic about the chosen name.
It doesn't seem very expressive, and would likely be confused with
other similar-sounding principles:

  o Principle of Least Effort
    <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipfs_law>

  o Principle of Least Action
    <http://www.minimum.com/reviews/artfin01.htm>

  o Principle of Least Authority
    <http://szabo.best.vwh.net/interpretingpower.html>

  o Principle of Least Privilege (a variant on Least Authority)
    <http://www.windowsecurity.com/articles/Implementing-Principle- 
Least-Privilege.html>

Oddly enough, the "Principle of Least Authority" comes closest
to TimBL's description of Least Power: "we ought to part with no more of
our rights to life, liberty, or property then is necessary for  
government
to preserve those rights from each other."

OTOH, Least Power also appeals back to the Declarative vs Procedural
debate in general.  Perhaps we can learn something from other sites
discussing that topic.

<http://www.adass.org/adass/proceedings/adass00/O6-03/>
     Declarative Metadata Processing with XML and Java

<http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/cogarch2/prop/declarative-procedural.html>
     Declarative vs. Procedural Knowledge Representation

<http://www-jime.open.ac.uk/2002/2/boyle-02-2-06.html>
     Towards a Theoretical Base for Educational Multimedia Design.

<http://www.javalobby.org/java/forums/m91828355.html>
     It's about procedural vs declarative, not just syntax

<http://www.dmreview.com/article_sub.cfm?articleId=3066>
     Business Rules, Meta Data and Late Binding

In summary, I like the idea of expanding on this principle of
least power, but would prefer a more descriptive name.  OTOH,
since I haven't been able to think of a new name, I am happy to
continue using this one until a better name presents itself.

Cheers,

Roy T. Fielding                            <http://roy.gbiv.com/>
Chief Scientist, Day Software              <http://www.day.com/>

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Received on Monday, 5 December 2005 20:06:01 UTC

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