Topic: Adopt an active direction

Certain topics are central to the work of the OGC and yet do not receive sufficent attention from the current system of voluntary collaboration. These include topics like:
  • maintenance of the documents required in the development of new standards, such as the template and recomendation,
  • revision and update of the The Specification Model (aka Mod Spec),
  • maintenance of the OGC Naming Authority registries and resolvers,
  • work on common standards widely shared across the OGC such as the OGC Web Services Common specification, and
  • research on future progress such as possible approaches towards REST (and RESTful) designs for OGC web services and on developing robust secure services.
These are obviously of differnt caliber: some only require ensure sufficient Staff time to maintain a resource, others require oversight to ensure the responsible working group can keep up with its work, others require picking up the work of defunct working groups, others require coordinating working groups, interfacing to other programs, and lobbying donors to make new research targeted in a particular direction. All share the need that the OGC be clear on the extent to which it will work in support of shared resources of different kinds.

These topics also differ in that the OGC could decide to respond at various levels. The OGC could:
  • maintain only the documents related to new specifications (templates and recommendation document),
  • maintain all the resources related to the creation of new specifications (including the Mod Spec),
  • maintain all the shared resources in the creation of new specification (including OWS Common),
  • also focus new research efforts and prioritize the revision of existing specs.
Note that the OGC NA involves committments to outside orgainzations (such as to IANA and the general public) and the topic therefore transcends the OGC's internal choices.

The OGC could adopt various approaches to its active involvement. It has been suggested that the OGC Leadership (President, Board of Directors, TC Chair, OGC Architecture Board) could priortize such work either by promoting its development in OGC Testbeds, by assigning staff to contribute to the work, or by using OGC funds to pay contractors to complete the work.

This writeup raises several over-arching questions related to this topic:
  • Question: Should this be a separate topic or is it properly the overlapping concern of several of the other topics (see relations, below)? Could this 'topic' be converted to a 'cross-cutting issue' so that work would go on elsewhere and this topic would become a check list to ensure the issue has been addressed in all those other topics?
  • Question: Should the OGC NA issues be left to that topic, TopicOGCNA, or, to the extent that the problems at the OGC NA require more work (or resources) should those issues be considered from outside the OGC NA as well?

Relations to other topics

  • Related to TopicUpdateVision since the choice to play a more active role in the maintanence of current standards and the research on new architectural directions for them should be part of an updated vision.
  • Related to TopicOAB since several of these issues have fallen on the shoulders of the OAB due to the disappearence of other working groups (OWS Common SWG, Policy SWG).
  • Related to TopicStandardsDiversity since acting as a 'big umbrella' organization for standards has a different intent than focusing on the current set of standards.
  • Related to TopicQualityVsQuantity since adopting an 'active' direction is implicitly a focus on quality.
  • Related to TopicOGCNA since keeping that registry system up and the links active involves helping the OGC NA fulfill its committments.



While I understand the current position of OGC to not intervene with the contents of specifications (and I do see its merits), in my experience it is detrimental to direction and coherence: it is detrimental that core standards like OWS Common are not receiving proper attention just because volunteers consider it a "boring" topic (my interpretation); it is leading to incoherence because SWGs, in their despair wink tend to find individual ad-hoc solutions. IMHO it is indispensable that OGC actively pursues its stated common platform, by whatever means (and I admit I do not know of a perfect implementation of such a policy). -- Peter Baumann

-- PeterBaumann - 30 Jun 2013

Perhaps an OGC staff member should be engaged to specifically support adherence to architectural constraints. For example, REST has a wildly variable understanding in (and to be fair, outside of) OGC. However, when you look at the actual formal definition of it, it is quite clear and simple, although perhaps it takes an expert to understand it enough to apply it correctly. OGC staff expertise could be useful to apply this type of discipline to standards evolution.

-- PeterRushforth - 11 Jul 2013

The original OWS Common vision has failed, not for lack of desire, but for lack of sustained effort. No one is following the injunctions of the first version.

A new approach, based on defining a series of requirement classes for optional use is only slowly moving along due to only a single author's work on the subject. The OGC should decide if it is worth putting resources to facilitate and encourage such work going forwards.

-- AdrianCuster - 26 Jul 2013
Topic revision: r1 - 17 Oct 2013, GregBuehler
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