What Clean Specs Achieve, WAS: Colonialism, SAX, Java, and Na mespaces

uche.ogbuji at fourthought.com uche.ogbuji at fourthought.com
Sun Feb 7 08:09:15 GMT 1999

Bill la Forge:
> > One of the big advantages of Java is that a small shop can
> > tackle significant projects. With clean specs, the same will
> > be true for XML.

Mark Birbeck:
> Hands up, who has read the Java spec (and that's not the same as reading
> the nice clear instructions given to you by the people who wrote the
> compiler)?

I have.  Both the core language and the library specs, about three years ago 
(just about when 1.0 came out).  They were very simple, clear, and even more 
useful than many of the textbooks I have since seen.  They were certainly 
superior to any of the W3C specs I've read (and I've read HTML 4.0, XML 1.0, 
Namespaces, DOM 1.0, XLink, XPointer, and XSL).

In fact, despite what Paul says, I often try to learn new technologies by 
reading the specs directly.  I have had varying success, but I don't intend to 
change my habits any time soon, despite my experiences with the W3C.

A lot of people appear to be ducking the fact that one _can_ write clear, 
concise and readable specs without sacrificing the necessary precision and 
formality: it just requires effort.  I don't know whether the problems with 
W3C specs come from lack of inclination towards such effort, or lack of 
resources for such effort.

Uche Ogbuji
FourThought LLC, IT Consultants
uche.ogbuji at fourthought.com	(970)481-0805
Software engineering, project management, Intranets and Extranets
http://FourThought.com		http://OpenTechnology.org

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