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RE: Standards (yet again) was RE: Use of XML ?

From:	Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com
Sent:	Thursday, August 02, 2001 4:35 PM

>The path of least resistance is to surrender, and go with
journalist-speak and define 
>"standard" as any specification that is either implemented by a
dominant vendor (e.g., the 
>Windows API) or agreed upon by any significant group of vendors (SOAP
1.1, the W3C specs). But 
>then the word becomes meaningless, and the press releases from BozoCo
and flunkies about the 
>new "standard" they proposed to the W3C have the same status as ISO

I have taken a look at the definition of the noun "standard" in several
online dictionaries, and the idea of legal status / government approval
is not the only definition, and it is actually *hard to find* such
meaning listed (though it does appear in one example that I could find,
in relation to the King of England). I would contend that this looser
use of the term predates the ISO itself, so being "snooty" about people
using it is misguided. 

Therefore the onus falls on the pedants to qualify the word. For example
"defacto standard" (e.g. cars have four wheels), "consortium standard"
(e.g. W3C), "national standard" (e.g. ANSI), and "international
standard" (e.g. ISO). So I would not correct someone who said "it is the
standard in XML not to use all-uppercase tags", because that is the
practice I've found to be most widespread and the person is not misusing
the word. I might be inclined to add that there is no technical or legal
impediment to using all uppercase, but only for clarification.

The use of the term "specification" has been recommended here, but that
word does not convey the idea that it will be used by disparate groups.
"Standard" implies widely used or atleast widely known.