Less Stupid XML
Taking Dvorak to a different level. We know that XML works fine applied well, and that folks like Dvorak, and really, most users, should not be aware that it is there. He is complaining like a shocked monkey usually does: by showing his teeth. Simplicity and complexity are terms often used to beat up solutions we don't like, or worse, don't own. So what are some other terms we might use to describe qualities of good XML design. Let me toss out three: 1. Transparency - the quality that the designer and or the mechanism is invisible. In art, say songwriting, this means that the song when listened to, reflects the listener and not the singer or songwriter. Shakespeare is considered phemomenal because you learn so little about him studying his work. In fact, we know very little about him. A good XML-enabled site should do that do. When I see a business site, I want to see the business, not XML savvy. 2. Coherence - the quality of a signal that it transmits the longest distance with the least attenuation. See LASER. When we begin to work with XLang, we will finally see the ultimate application of extensibility. We begin to use enterprise modeling to create long term transactions. Consider these the macro level of what we do in the business objects with ACID properties. In effect, we hierachicalize the business process such that within it, each process opens and closes correctly and can be said not just to be, well-formed, but well-performed. My intuition (with some ancient work to back it up) is that the quality of coherence is important. There will be patterns in these processes that scale and produce mutually reinforcing patterns. Thus, what we will see in coherent systems will be their ability to propagate for very long terms without loss of information. Orchestration will depend on achieving coherent presentation and navigation. It is a hierarchy of feedback systems, each enabling events to open and close such that no event transits a view dimension unpredictably. Be aware of hidden couplers. They resonate and create interference patterns that look like noise or distortion in the image. On the other hand, it is precisely such patterns that create images and these are very useful for seeing around the shape of the thing. This is a hint to those who are working on using XML/XSLT for visualization tools. 3. Predictable - In short, Don't Shock The Monkey. If the monkey is shocked, it reacts unpredictably. VRML navigation has this problem and we are working to solve it. Mammals meet surprise with hesitation. If we want a transparent and coherent system, we have to make sure the ear is satisfied with a certain amount of predictable repetition over innovation. (that is really at the heart of dvorak's dilemma). If you must shock the monkey, be sure of the reason for it. Usually it is to wake the monkey up because the predictable experience put them to sleep. In these cases, better bananas than bees. Paul Grosso told me once about the principle of least surprise, and it is the heart of the matter. It isn't the same as consistency, by the way. You really do have to wake them up to get them to listen. Which is also probably why Dvorak shocks this tree from time to time. ;-) Len Bullard Intergraph Public Safety clbullar@i... http://www.mp3.com/LenBullard Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti. Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h
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