Understanding Open Standards

Understanding Open Standards

A Brief Look At Open Standards and More

What is an open source?

Open source is defined as any open material on the web which is publicly accessible by anyone.

What is an open standard?

Open standards are defined as guidelines to keep the technologies open, particularly to developers.

The definitions are simple, but dealing with the complexities, that is another matter. Debates are still ongoing as to what is considered an “open source” and who gets to regulate these “standards”.

How are they developed?

This is where it becomes a bit more complicated. There are literally thousands of documents moving on the web every day. Every standard is part of something bigger. There is no way to possible govern everything that comes down the pike with web development and ISO.

Standards fall into one of four categories: industry, vendor, closed, or open. Developers have their own opinions on what information should stay open or closed.

Are standards voluntary?

Yes, they are. Some standards are considered “classified” or “restricted”. There might be a valid reason for placing these restrictions on some of the standards.

An example

Back in September 2016, Apple announced it was going to ship the new iPhone 7 and 7 plus was going to ship without the headphone port. That headphone port has always been a staple on most devices.

A lot of journalists did opinion pieces on this, citing that the company was looking to put profit over the customer. Customers will not have to put out money for the headphones, something they did not have to do before. Journalists had a feeding frenzy with this.

Apple cited industry standard specifications and kept some of the information classified. Others cited “vendor standards”, citing the need to please the vendor and not the consumer.

This example illustrates perfectly how people can be divided on the subject of standards, especially when you choose one party over another.

The timing of standards

Placing standards on the certain information requires a certain window of opportunity. Some argue that if you place standards on something too early, you will stunt the growth.

Standards evolve. Data that is classified as “closed” in the beginning end up being classified as “open” later. You also need to sort out what standards benefit the consumer and which ones do not.

To read more about open standards and what it means for you, visit  https://opensource.com/resources/what-are-open-standards or http://www.digistan.org/