W3C and the Broken Process + Two Shining Examples of Committee-based Specification Development Done Right
It seems that many people have used the Microformat example as a way things ought to be done but I stay careful.
Creating a standard in a fairly narrow area with no pressure for output is different from creating a whole standard body such as the W3C.
As per my follow-up,
This is a good point, though it would be tough to compare the development of something like hCard to the development of its parent format, XHTML (for those unaware, hCard is an XHTML-based implementation of vCard. See: http://microformats.org/wiki/hcard < for more detail.)
It seems to me that the current stage of the Microformats development era is comparable to that of the days when the W3C was just getting underway. I *think* it was Tim Berners-Lee that stated something similar to,
“The development of XML came at a time when we were able to slip under the radar of most. XML could not be developed in todays W3C.”
PLEASE NOTE: This is completely from memory of which is based on reading the quote once, several years back. While I am pretty sure it was Tim Berners Lee that stated it, even that I am not completely certain of. With this in mind, PLEASE DO NOT use the above for anything other than general reference, and even that you should be cautious of.
both of your “shining examples” where done at the IETF, not the W3C, and i agree they shine. the secrecy of the W3C cabal with member-only discussions is really an artifact of a bygone era, imho. when will the W3C enter the age of participation?
As I made note in my follow-up, while I was aware that both Atom and APP were developed as part of the IETF, I didn’t make that very clear in my post. For those of you who were led to believe that Atom and APP were developed as part of the W3C, firstly, my apologies, and secondly, (please see above) :)
If interested, please see my same linked follow-up to Gregor’s comments for more details in regards to my own opinions to the points he brings out. In short, I COMPLETELY agree!
Update: Mike Champion (somebody who just so happens to have some experience with the the W3C process) has done a nice job of pulling both sides of the argument together into what I would term a pretty fair analysis of the entire situation at hand, and the reality (both + and -) of each. *DEFINITELY* worth a read!
So on the other hand I actually like some of the things being done at the W3C now and some of the things that will be done soonish.
]]] - http://annevankesteren.nl/2006/08/w3c
Jeffrey Zeldman has written a weblog entry An angry fix about Björn Hörmann’s message on his reasons for leaving the group doing the development of W3C validators. He made a few points in his message which will be certainly discussed by the Web communities in the following days.
]]] - http://www.w3.org/QA/2006/07/a_peaceful_ear.html
On Dare’s article, isn’t it a bit much for an employee of a large company to say the W3C is bad because it is in the thrall of large companies and then to advocate that the answer is for us to just adopt proprietary ’standards’, presumably made by large companies?
Thanks to both of you for taking the time to follow-up!
SPECIAL DISCLAIMER: While technically not necessary (this is already specified at the bottom of each blog entry published on one of the O’ReillyNet-based domains), except for the quoted material, what follows is 100% my own opinion.
The question I sometimes ponder is what’s the alternative? De-facto standards based on proprietary technologies seem to be one option as evidenced by the success of RSS and IXMLHttpRequest. There is also something to be said about the approach taken by Microformats community. Either approach seems preferable to the current mess we have with the W3C’s approach to standards development.
The above linked rant, of which the above quote comes from stems from a recent rant from Anne van Kesteren, someone who just so happens to know a thing or two about pretty much everything that has to do with Web Development, and/or any other type of development. It sounds as if Anne is pretty upset, and to be honest, who can blame him!
I have no idea if this particular issue had anything to do with Anne’s rant (still need to read it, so the answer may be contained in his post), but after being, for all intents and purposes, “burned by the process“, which from the initial outset made him (Anne) look like the ungrateful culprit, when in fact it was by matter of (bureaucratic?) internal W3C process in which pushed forward a half-baked document without regard for the obvious side effects of which would take place as a result — If it were me, I’d be pretty upset as well.
Two areas that Dare didn’t include in his post that I believe are shining examples of spec development by committee done right,
You might have your own opinions, but to me the reason for this is obvious: When you have a team of proven “shippers” such as Tim Bray, Sam Ruby, and Paul Hoffman guiding the development efforts, the result is going to,
2) Work well
3) As a result of 1 and 2, the need for subsequent updates and revisions will be driven, for the most part, by technological advancement, instead of poorly designed specs developed by “special interest” committees instead of folks interested in simply developing a specification that can be used by the masses without payment, and without special “favors” built into the specification to ensure whatever it is these same mentioned special interest groups might want built into the spec.
I should also make note that I just so happen to agree with the generalized notion that Dare points out: De-facto standards based on proprietary technologies is definitely one way to go.
Just look at LINQ.
And, yet once again, please note: Except for quotes, the above is 100% my own opinion.
Thanks for reading :)