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RE: experts

> When experts design systems, they know that they can go the extra
> mile for optimization, take advantage of the options provided, and reuse
> technologies in ways that go beyond the expectations of their
> creators.  That's what these folks do, all the time.

I debate that (or maybe I'm vehemently agreeing with a more
constrained definition of the term "expert" ;-)).

I think the mark of a true expert is having the knowledge
necessary to make the hard compromise between elegance, efficiency,
and usability/understandability.

I've met lot's of supposed experts that knew how to micro-optimize
up the wazoo... they all remind me of the businessman in "The Little
Prince"... fair too busy with "matters of importance" to look up
and see the larger world. To me, these people are ignoramuses, not

> The two glaring exceptions are XML and HTML.  XML was a deliberate
> stripping away of features beloved by power users and experts, though I'd
> suggest it didn't go nearly far enough.

I think XML was designed largely by experts. Pretty much every member of
the original W3C WG was some form of markup/SGML expert. It was that
collective knowledge (and collective experience) that led to good
tradeoffs being made.

> HTML, of course, was designed by an amateur.

Again, I think Tim had a pretty good knowledge of markup and hypermedia
when he first designed HTML... probably more than people give him
credit for. He probably did have gaps though... hence some of
limitations/problems we saw.

> [Some experts, working in smaller groups, can break out with cleaner and
> simpler systems -I'd suggest that RELAX and TREX went this way.  It is
> possible, just not especially likely when experts are typically gathered
> into committees.]

It's far less likely if the committees are made up of true experts
and supposed experts, or if the experts all come from different domains,
and so can't communicate.

> Maybe it's time for experts to let users figure out what they need.

Yeah... maybe. Then we get JavaScript, DHTML, marquee tags etc. We
are still paying for a lot of the mistakes made by armchair experts.