Popular links

Topic maps


Claudio Monteverdi

Alexander Johannesen

Technologies used
topic map logo
xSiteable logo
Mon, 17 Mar 2003 13:00:00 GMT

Notice! This blog is no longer updated as such, and the new spot to point your feedreaders and blurry eyes are https://shelter.nu/blog/

This also means no more comments here, and especially not you spammers, you filthy floatsam of the internet!

I'm sick of "specifications"!

As a consultant I read a lot of specifications, trying to always dechiper it to make systems that meet the needs and demands of customers. But the more specifications I read, the more I get frustrated by professional wannabies who obviously don't have full control of what they're doing.

Yes, it is to be expected that we go from beginner through to intermediate up to expert, and that to be a beginner, you sometimes make mistakes. Fair enough.

What is not so "fair enough" is when specifications to large site with millions of dollars involved are just not worth the bytes it is written in. Example;

Demand 45 : All code must validate according to HTML 4.01.

Demand 98 : All graphical elements must have an alternative text (ALT='')

If it validates, no. 98 is moot. Why specify it further? To make it absolutely clear that the demand is important? Me thinks it is because someone hasn't got a clue what validation means and contains.

I have another fun example;

Demand 121 : Layout and presentation must be controlled through CSS.

Demand 129 : Formatting must not be made dependandt on CSS.

So, here they draw an invisible line between "layout and presentation" and "formatting". Do you know what they mean?

Demand 9 : The website must be optimized for [other browsers] and Netscape 4.5 and 6.

Demand 21 : Old W3C technologies must not be used.

Demand 121 : Layout and presentation must be controlled through CSS.

Does this specification have any idea what Netscape 4.5 (sic!) does with good honest CSS? Obviously not.

Bottom line; I'm seeing a lot of these poor specifications lately, and I'm wondering if it is the hype of W3C standards that make people use copy/paste from W3C's site and put them into their own specifications, without knowing what the consequences are, the technology is, or even what they do?

Permalink (Mon, 17 Mar 2003 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (3) | Technical development Standards
Moosejaw ( Tue, Jan 20 2004 )
Having been in the middle of the development of some of those specs, I can say that there's a few things wrong at the W3C. The most egregious is the lack of a decent process, second, lack of qualified experts on any specific project (it's whoever the companies send in, who sometimes don't know squat about the things they're developing, so a small number with strong business motivations often do the real development work, such as Adobe on SVG), any intra-WG process can be squelched by the input of the Knight errant himself (such as during the development of XML), and finally, the demands of the bigger players often trumps good design. In the case of HTML, there was even the CSS WG's demands on HTML, rather than the other way around. Industry consortia are really not suitable for the development of good, solid specifications. I'm not sure that standards bodies do it much better though.
Alex ( Tue, Jan 20 2004 )
The more I learn about the W3C, the more I become wary of their ways. Some standards bodies are alright, clearly working for the better standard, and some are just commercial wanking-points in cyberspace.
And then specifications of systems cut and paste - without having full know-how of what they imply - from specifications to be 'compliant.' It is a world gone mad, I tell you.
e247invXIM ( Tue, Dec 13 2005 - 07:12:03 )