Occam's Razor


Occam's Razor

Posted on January 2018

Jodie Foster, Contact, Occam's Razor, and Simply XML

Frank: Hey Doug, we recently watched Jodie Foster and the movie Contact. Besides Jodie Foster, what did you like about that movie?
Doug: Well Frank, you know I like thinking about metaphysical issues, however, I really like the concept of Occam's Razor. Broadly interpreted, it explains Simply XML's reason for being.
Frank: I was afraid you might be thinking about taking a long trip in a spacecraft.
Doug: We'll leave time and space travel to others, but let me try to explain.......

The Concept of Occam's Razor

According to Wikipedia.......... In the movie Contact, Dr. Arroway (played by Jodie Foster) is asked "Do you know what Occam's Razor is?" to which she responds, "Yes, it's the scientific principle that, all things being equal, the simplest answer is usually the right one." ... Occam's razor says so.

Razor Optimist/Pessimist

We love the concept tempered by the current state of enterprise content management. The optimist sees the glass as half full, the pessimist sees it as half-empty. This is how we see enterprise content management. We are a bit of both, perhaps we are "realists."

As enterprise content management optimists we see that, with an XML architecture and modern technology, the information consumer can get just enough, just in time information, on their device of choice, in their language of choice, in order to perform better in their jobs.

As enterprise content management pessimists, we see that the technical publication managers and consultants have created extremely complex XML/DITA implementations that may relegate this important architecture only to richly funded back offices.

It is at least interesting that the late 2017 conferences Simply XML attended had presentations, in addition to ours, that focused on the need for simplicity. One presentation had that apparent audacity to declare that "DITA will fail". It will fail if DITA stays complicated and expensive to implement and if the required technology is hard to use.

Occam's Razor

This Simply XML newsletter audience is aware that our approach is to hide the XML/DITA and to Keep It Simple Smart-person. Everyone uses Microsoft Word. Enterprise authors do not want to see or learn XML/DITA. Occam's Razor encourages that the simplest approach to enterprise content management is the right approach.

We have a simple answer which according to Occam's Razor is the right one!

Current State

Frank: If we've got the right solution, Doug, why do we still have to budget for my cookies and carrots?
Doug: If we are right, Frank, and if we work very hard, that won't be an issue. In fact, we believe that all of our customers will also be able to afford a lot more cookies and carrots. Let's help them see the comprehensive enterprise solution with Occam's Razor in mind.