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Subject: Re: [oiic-formation-discuss] What is interoperability anyway / really?

Hi Shawn.

2008/6/8 Shawn <sgrover@open2space.com>:

> The best example of Interoperability I can think of is a screw driver. A
> phillips (aka star) screw driver is a "standard".  It has many manufacturers
> - MasterCraft, Stanely, etc.  I can easily substitute any manufacturer's
> phillips screwdriver, for use with any phillips headed screw, and expect the
> same usage method, and same results.  (yes, I conveniently ignored the size
> of the screw/screwdriver here)

+1. Understood and clear (until I'm faced with a screwhead in some dark
corner that I guess is either Phillips/Posidrive, roughly size 2).

There are some aspects that are B+W, though it is the grey areas
that produce the hair pulling.

> Applying this idea to software, particularly where documents/data is
> concerned.  I would expect that I can use any manufacturer's/vendor's tool
> to apply to my problem (creating/saving a document), and get the same
> results.  I would expect to be able to swap out the tool used at any time,
> with no hassles.

Taking this idea further, would it be helpful to try and define it as a list of
things. We can all agree on some items, e.g. instance validation against
the schema.
As we move to things like pagination, it becomes less clear.
1..10 murky to clear?
Perhaps these are Robs 'features'?
My two extremes would be:
Instance validation   10
pixel perfect layout   1

If we can find some of the things that would really bug Davids users,
then we can determine whether they are in|out of our definition
of interop?

Is it the feature list? I could be convinced it's even wider than that?
A vendors interpretation of feature X could be sufficiently at
variance with another vendors to cause an end user reaction.


Dave Pawson

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