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RE: Who knows? (was RE:??? (was RE: A Simple Guy ...))
- From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <email@example.com>
- To: Michael Champion <firstname.lastname@example.org>,xml-dev <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2001 11:17:10 -0600
The trick for that Captain was not to go
too fast too north at that time of the
year. Even then, it might have worked
if the two kids in the clinch on the deck
hadn't distracted the lookouts in the
crow's nest: hmm, or was that last bit history
distorted in the retelling?
This ain't Academia vs RealMen or
Lawyers vs RealMen, or us vs them
or anything else. It is knowing
how to spec based on a requirement
that makes more sense than the kind
I see these days from some working groups.
It is picking a technology based on
the current conditions of the technical
environment: the affordable solution. The ability
to do that exists if you can get through the
politics and find a customer with money.
Survivors of the Titanic got right
back on the next ship. One maid/nurse
even served on the two sister
ships that sank and she lived to a ripe old
age. Knowing how to swim is really
useful. So were the new standards for
lifeboats and passenger capacity.
The northwest passage was successfully
navigated by the USS Nautilus in the
1950s. A route is found by picking
the right technology when it becomes
available. The problem stayed the same.
The XML technologies of
the early 90s were fought by the supporters
of CGM, FOSI, PostScript, scrollers,
and so on. When the market was right
and the need was obvious to enough
people, it succeeded. It wasn't simplicity,
it wasn't that "dozen people", the
W3C, the shining moment of clarity,
or the other revisions of history.
It was cheap memory, cheap processors,
and cache. The rest was just hacking
away the bits they didn't need anymore.
So the Captain should also choose
the time of year. The Learned Ones
survive that way or go down with the
ship. You don't have to predict the
future. You may get that wrong. You
have to read the freakin' RFPs and
count. Simple, right? It would be
if there were RFPs for W3C tech.
So what's the problem? Get that right
then pick the technology.
Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti.
Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h
From: Michael Champion [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2001 10:29 AM
Subject: Re: Who knows? (was RE:??? (was RE: A Simple Guy ...))
From: Kimbro Staken [mailto:email@example.com]
>> A perfect elegant masterpiece of academic
>> ingenuity that solves everybody's problems and insures interoperability
>> at any possible level is in actuality not perfect at all if it isn't
>> widely implemented AND deployed in the real world.
Len Bullard replied:
> "Once around the wheelhouse, twice
> around the wheelhouse. Then he
> saw that big 'berg and said, 'I'm
> gonna move you...'"
> Choose the captain and the route wisely.
That's the crux of the problem here. As David Megginson said yesterday, the
best project managers are 90% right about predictions a month in advance ...
which means that they're about 50% right about predictions six months in
advance ... which means that even the wisest captains don't have a clue how
to "wisely" choose a route for a journey that will take more than a year.
Internet techologies are in the Age of Discovery, not the Age of
Enlightenment. Send out many different explorers, using different types of
ships, navigation methods, means of keeping the crew healthy, etc. Learn
from those who make it back, and forget those who don't. The Learned Ones
may produce "elegant masterpieces of academic ingenuity" that assert there
is a Northwest Passage from Europe to Asia and that bloodletting cures
scurvy, but pay more attention to the tales of the survivors.
Standards for Navigation are clearly a "good thing", but should codify the
experience of the explorers, not the theories of the Learned Ones. XML 1.0
codifies the experiences of the SGML survivors, XSLT codified the experience
of the DSSSL survivors. Some of the later XML specs sound more like academic
treatises on "phlebotomy"  than survivor's tales.