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Dancing with standards

February 26, 2011

I have spent an awful lot of time over the past 3 years picking through the minutiae of specifications as they are developed, and progress toward standardisation. 

It’s quite a consuming passion, and has permanently changed the way I work turning me into something of a pedantic ditherer; at once obsessed with detail and yet infuriatingly vague.
I’ve just read a quote by a Mozilla developer which struck a chord, and thought it worth sharing.

Implementations and specifications have to do a delicate dance together. You don’t want implementations to happen before the specification is finished, because people start depending on the details of implementations and that constrains the specification. However, you also don’t want the specification to be finished before there are implementations and author experience with those implementations, because you need the feedback. There is unavoidable tension here, but we just have to muddle on through … I think we’re doing OK.”


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