Friday, December 17, 2004

Implementations and specifications

In his blog, Dave argues that implementation details that creep into specifications/standards aren't a bad thing. He's right in that implementation experience needs to play an important part in the development of specifications and standards. This isn't anything new of course. You only have to look at the OMG, the JCP, the Open Group and a host of other groups/efforts over many years to see where this is true.

However, where Dave is wrong is in his implicit subtext, that the WS-Addressing specification should be taken as is by the working group because it is based on implementations. He misses the point entirely. Just look back at the small section of examples where I said implementations+specifications work well. These are all based on collaborative input from a wide range of vendors (and academics). What Dave seems to assume is that because IBM, BEA and MSFT have implemented WS-Addressing and then submitted it for standarization, that process should assume that those guys know best.

When we submitted the original WS-CAF work to OASIS to form the OASIS WS-CAF Technical Committee I suppose we could have said "rubber stamp this effort". But that's hardly an open all inclusive process, now is it? Our original work was simply a starting point and we were aiming to get more people and experiences involved. The results have been some pretty radical changes from what we originally submitted, but sobeit: that's the way the community as a whole have decided to move.

Now Dave keeps banging on about how addressing needs to be out there quickly, so we need to fast-track the work. Fair enough. But that doesn't mean that objections on aspects on the specification from companies and individuals who weren't involved in it originally should be ignored, or classified as unimportant. All the ones I've seen so far have been based on implementation experience too!

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