I'm pondering the term 'invited expert' and what it really means. Do we really want a Web designed by experts? Think about this for a while. Most programmers aren't really experts. Most systems architects aren't really experts. They're qualified (we hope) to do their jobs, but they won't necessarily do them in the most elegant or efficient way, and only spend time on optimization when it's clear there is a return on the investment. Most programs are ho-hum efficient - enough to keep users and customers from complaining. When experts design systems, they know that they can go the extra mile for optimization, take advantage of the options provided, and reuse technologies in ways that go beyond the expectations of their creators. That's what these folks do, all the time. I'd like to think that experts would design systems built for ordinary developers - technologies that are already optimized, which provide elegant answers to complex problems without requiring developers to think too hard on the possibilities. Instead, I'd argue that most of what we've seen in markup - with two exceptions, one more glaring than the next - is design by experts for experts. Options and features are important, so there are lots of them. Experts can figure them out, so everyone else must be able to as well. Only experts can really understand their interior details, so only experts should contribute. The two glaring exceptions are XML and HTML. XML was a deliberate stripping away of features beloved by power users and experts, though I'd suggest it didn't go nearly far enough. HTML, of course, was designed by an amateur. [Some experts, working in smaller groups, can break out with cleaner and simpler systems -I'd suggest that RELAX and TREX went this way. It is possible, just not especially likely when experts are typically gathered into committees.] Maybe it's time for experts to let users figure out what they need. Simon St.Laurent - Associate Editor, O'Reilly and Associates XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed. XHTML: Migrating Toward XML http://www.simonstl.com - XML essays and books
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