Colonialism, SAX, Java, and Namespaces

Ronald Bourret rbourret at
Fri Feb 5 17:22:34 GMT 1999

Paul Prescod wrote:

> I used the term *dumb down* in reference to *myself*. The average
> developer is a dummy in all but a few fields, just like me. We cannot
> restrict all fields until they are simple enough for everyone to
> understand. As someone pointed out recently, we wouldn't have a
> technologically advancing civilization if we did that. If we cannot agree
> on that much then further discussion is not going to be productive.

I don't think Simon is asking for simpler technology.  I think he's asking 
for more explanatory writing in the specs.  Precision is almost impossible 
to achieve in spoken languages -- there is always somebody clever or 
foolish enough to "misinterpret" the most basic words -- and so the 
question is whether you write a short, highly formal spec, interpret it 
afterward, and hope that everybody hears/understands you, or write a 
longer, perhaps less formal spec, interpret it place, and hope you don't 
introduce inconsistencies and ambiguities, or go somewhere in between.

Personally, I vote for the longer, slightly less formal route, as I believe 
it leads to wider acceptance and, in the long run, less misinterpretation. 
 That said, I've written enough specs in my lifetime that I sympathize with 
anyone who writes one at all, no matter what style they choose.

-- Ron Bourret

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