Standards are Great, but Standardisation is a Really Bad Idea

A session at QCon London 2009

Friday 13th March, 2009

3:30pm to 4:30pm (GMT)

Standards arise from consensus between competitors signaling maturity in a marketplace. A good standard can ensure interoperability and assist portability, allowing the switching of suppliers. A widely adopted standard can create new markets, and impose useful constraints which in turn foster good design and innovation. Standards are great, and as the old joke goes, that's why we have so many of them!

If standards represent peace, then formal standardisation can be war! Dark, political, expensive and exclusive games played out between large vendors often behind closed doors. There are better ways to forge consensus and build agreements and the notion of a committee taking often a number of years to writing a specification, especially in the absence of implementation experience appears archaic in today's world of Agile methods, test driven development, open source, Wikis and other Web base collaborations.

This talk will draw upon Paul's personal experiences forged in the wonderful world of XML and Web service standardisation, examine the risks of premature standardisation, unnatural constraints, partial implementations and open extensions, puzzle how to avoid cloud computing lock-in, and contrast formal activities with lightweight open processes as exemplified by open source, Microformats, OpenID, OAuth and other Web conventions being ratified through open, lightweight, continuous agreement.

About the speaker

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Paul Downey

I never reveal my sources. I always give attribution. I never use absolutes. I am never conflicted. bio from Twitter

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QCon London 2009

England England, London

9th13th March 2009

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Time 3:30pm4:30pm GMT

Date Fri 13th March 2009

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