Design Bash: Moving Towards Learning Design Interoperability

Sheila MacNeill, Weblog, Oct 29, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The 'design bash' concept is a good idea in itself, but I am highlighting this post because of the way it describes three types of interoperability: conceptual, semantic and syntactic. Now I wouldn't define these as the author does. I think semantic interoperability has to do with meaning, and not whether or not a given function is present. This, along with interoperability of format, should be classified as syntactic interoperability. That also allows us to classify what the author calls 'conceptual' interoperability as a type of semantic interoperability. Why is this rewriting important? Because while I think syntactic interoperability is a good idea, I think striving for semantic interoperability is dangerous and misguided. We use a common language, sure, but we must be free to say different things.
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