[unrev-II] Evaluations

From: Eric Armstrong (eric.armstrong@eng.sun.com)
Date: Sun Apr 16 2000 - 21:59:15 PDT

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    God, I wish we had a DKR. I'd like to go into
    the hierarchical list of references we have so
    far -- a list that people can add to as the
    discussion goes along, and add my evaluation-
    comments to the items in that list.

    I'll endeavor to do the best I can with this
    impoverished email system, however...

    * (1 star)
    Data and Reality (online excerpts)
    The book may be excellent, but these extracts can be
    skipped. They contain lots of general philosophizing,
    but not a shred of detail as to what the resulting
    system looks like. Since the book is out of print,
    there seems to be no good way to find out just what it
    was he proposed. That's going to pretty well rule it
    out, unless someone comes up with a useful abstract.

    ** (2 stars)
    Common Source Format (CSF) for XML-based source code
    When you want a semantic representation of a computer
    program, this XML-based language will do the trick.
    It will be great for debuggers and pretty-printers.
    However, this sort of format is unlikely to work for
    *editing* source code. Having to use a DTD-directed
    XML editor is going to put too many restrictions on
    the programmer's activities -- invalid intermediate
    states will be disallowed and every node will have to
    be defined when it is created. Note that the developers
    of this standard expect the source code to be in text
    form, and to be compiled to this standard. For editing,
    my choice continues to be a "semantically neutral"
    XML standard -- simple nodes, with possibly a few
    attributes, so your editor looks like an outliner. The
    result can then be parsed into CSF for feeding into
    a compiler, but the source code itself should look as
    much as possible like plain text.

    ***** (5 stars)
    The IBIS Manual -- A Short Course
    This is Conklin's short, readable description of the
    Issue Based Information System (IBIS). I'm mentioning it
    again here, because it so clearly explained the most
    effective way to carry a design/decision discussion.

    **** (5 stars)
    Capturing Organizational Memory
    A great read on the need for capturing rationale and
    process information, in addition to final documents.
    References a link that points out organization memory
    was not irretrievably "lost" in the first half of
    last century. (I haven't had a chance to peruse the link,
    but I suspect it's because people didn't change jobs.)

    * (1 star)
    The Role of Manager as Facilitator
    This one is about the role of the manager as facilitator.
    All it really says is that the manager can do the
    "discussion facilitator" role, and doesn't need to hire
    an outside consultant. Having read this summary, you
    have now read the paper. Pass.

    **** (5 stars)
    Wicked Problems
    Conklin continues to have the most clearly stated,
    insightful expressions of the problems we face, as well
    as a delineation of solution-parameters. This is
    Conklin at his best.

    * (1 star)
    Designing Organizational Memory
    Ok, but its rather long and doesn't say much. Very
    high level generalities. Nothing to argue with, just
    nothing illuminating. Not up to Conklin's normal

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