Session Abstract: When programming a computer system, developers utters strange and specific incantations in esoteric languages to make the system do their bidding. Computers have the benefit of being fairly predictable.
But what if the runtime environment was not so stable? What if one command could get interpreted in a nearly infinite variety of ways? What if even the most fundamental instructions could be simply ignored or countered at any point ... just because?
This is exactly the world that standards writers live in, where the standards text is executed on the most unreliable platform possible: the minds of implementors around the world. After all, a standard document is really just a set of instructions with a desired output; it's just that the output is itself a software system and its behavior.
So how do you work in this kind of space? By approaching standards with an engineering mindset, both in writing and reading them, systems and protocols can be more robust and predictable for everyone. Come to this talk to find out what you should do, and what you must, pay attention to, in the unpredictable world of the internet.