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Re: [xml-dev] Re: XML As Fall Guy

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 1:12 AM, Thomas Passin <list1@tompassin.net> wrote:
On 12/2/2013 6:13 PM, Ihe Onwuka wrote:
That would be Gall's 3rd System Axiom.


Even with a good clear set of requirements,  analysts and designers
dilligent and good enough not to specify/implement an over-engineered
 solution are thin on the ground.

Anyone who has been in engineering or manufacturing for any significant time should know that things ... systems ... whatever that has any complexity ... hardly ever work as expected right off the bat.  Things have to be tweaked, fixed, redesigned, reworked before they work right.  A new ship, for example, will likely have thousands if not tens of thousands of item on its punch list when first launched.

That's true about software, too.  Anyone who thinks a software system is going to work right at first is a fool, there's no way around it.  But the contractual and managerial means that would provide for the evolution to a correctly working system - and these means have to work all during the project, not just near the end - we hardly ever have them.
This would be true even if the requirements were fully known and properly worked out from the start, and the development team were totally capable and understood how to use the tools provided.  But we know that's hardly ever the case, too.

When legal and political matters are involved, they make it much harder because they can't be flexible where flexibility is needed.

Aye verily so. So for example we should be designing extensible open content models rather than say generating them from some tool. We should couch our designs for the inevitable uncertainty - we don't do those things very well. Even allowing for the contractual, political and administrative challenges of the environment we have to operate in, it cannot be said that we put our best foot forward.

IT is not unique in having to deal with imperatives from an unreasonable naive client.

As I think about this, it seems to me that what is needed is research into new methods of contracting for and managing software systems.  It's not that a new methodology will solve everything.  It's not that a new modeling tool or a new programming language will solve everything.  It's not even that better programmers will solve everything.  The social/managerial/contractual base is completely inadequate.

True again, but we should do a much better job than we do of the things that are within our domain of control.
Hopefully what emerges will be simple.  Enterprise Architecture was a apparently good idea that grew out of control into an unmanageably complex monster.  And yet at its simplified core, it still can have value.

and it's not a new idea Zachmann's book is of 1993 vintage. If we could just make the better use of what is already known.

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