What is a good standard?

Why doesn't HTML include tags for style? Why can't you put text inside SMIL? Why doesn't CSS include commands to transform a document? Why, in short, does W3C modularize its specification and why in this particular way? This essay tries to make explicit what the developers in the various W3C working groups mean when they invoke words like efficiency, maintainability, accessibility, extensibility, learnability, simplicity, longevity, and other long words ending in -y.

  1. Maintainability

  2. Modularity

  3. Minimum redundancy

  4. Accessibility

  5. Device-independency

  6. Internationality

  7. Extensibility

  8. Learnability

  9. Readability

  10. Efficiency

  11. Binary or text format

  12. Implementability

  13. Simplicity

  14. Longevity

  15. Backwards compatibility

  16. Interoperability

  17. Repurposing of content

  18. Timeliness

  19. Use what is there

  20. Design by committee

  21. Expertise

  22. Brevity

  23. Stability

  24. Robustness