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At 01:06 PM 3/18/2002 -0600, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
>Except in hindsight. Everyone is an expert at that.
>XML was designed "in hindsight".
There's a lot of truth to that.
Everyone knows about Occam's Razor, and most designers say simplicity,
conceptual integrity, etc. are important to them. Still, most of our
initial designs are more complex than we would like. If we're lucky, our
colleagues point out potential simplifications. More likely, they point out
all the important cases that our initial solution did not cover. A good
designer then goes back to the drawing board, looking for a solution
general enough to cover these cases without a bunch of special casing,
using hindsight as a tool for knowing what to throw out (grin!).
One set of technologies that matter are the break-through technologies that
show how something new can be done. These generally have warts, but they
show the way. Ten years later, we may want to use something else. Another
set of technologies that matter are less brilliant, simple reworkings of
the original ideas. XML was not creative or original. Neither was Java,
really. Both are excellent examples of hindsight in action.