April 30, 2004

Standards Committees are a Really Bad Place to do Research

Tim Bray makes a very true statement on his weblog posting about "Web Services Theory and Practice" (emphasis added)

The Standards Process
This essay is about theory and practice, and we ought to have learned by now that standards are terrific when applied to proven industry practice but high-risk in the domain of theory and science. SQL and XML were both exercises in writing down something that had already been proven to work.

When committees get together either in an informal cabal or an official standards process, and go about inventing new technologies, the results are usually pretty bad. ODA (Never heard of it? Exactly); OSI Networking; W3C XML Schemas. The list goes on and on.

[ Tim Bray - Web Services Theory and Practice ]

Just as a camel is a horse designed by committee, as Tim points out it is similarly important to take things to standards organizations that are more than just theories. That's exactly what Microsoft is doing through the workshop process - knocking the glitches and interop bugs out of the WS-* specs before sending them to a standards org.

One of my favourite sayings is "the only real test for software is production deployment", and if we apply this principle to the world of web services specs then the only real test that a spec is right is proven multi-vendor interop.

Posted by Jorgen Thelin at April 30, 2004 02:32 PM - [PermaLink]
 
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Standards Committees are a Really Bad Place to do Research
Excerpt: Jorgen Thelin (Microsoft) and Tim Bray (Sun) are talking about how standards are terrific when applied to proven industry practice but high-risk in the domain of theory and science. I definitely agree. If we take a look at the JCP...
Weblog: techno.blog("Dion")
Tracked: April 30, 2004 05:25 PM
Comments
Jim Waldo had an interesting post in his blog, which prompted an interesting /. discussion as to whether standards bodies are stifling innovation: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/05/27/1422200&mode=thread&tid=126 Posted by: Craig on May 9, 2004 06:58 AM