Pete’s Guide to Technology and Everything Else Pete’s Guide to Technology and Everything Else

On the Importance of Standards

Standards, specifications, and recomendations—no matter what you call them, and what meaning you give to which of those terms a particular document is given—are one of the most important and most abused topics relating to communication, interoperability, and product design.

This section is a mixture of commentary and collections of raw links, organized by topic. Not every topic has commentary, but hopefully you will find even these simple lists of links to standards helpful in your research, as I have.

Standards Topics I’m Researching

Standards Every Developer Must Understand

The heart of the 21st Century Web.
HTTP Content Negotiation
Designed to let desktop computers, PDAs, TVs, and mobile phones access the Web without needing different URLs. RFC 2068/HTTP 1.1 and RFC 2295.
Unicode 5.1.0
Especially the UTF-8 encoding, which uses US-ASCII to represent any character in the world.
MIME Types
The official repository for specifying the type of content transferred over the Internet.
Official IANA Registry of URI Schemes
This is the always-current registry of what URI schemes exist on the Internet. Key entries include http (Web), ftp (FTP), mailto (E-mail address), imap (E-mail server), rtsp (streaming video/audio), sip/sips (VoIP address), tel (Dial a phone number), ldap (contact directory), h323 (H.323 address), ipp (Internet Printing Protocol), and im (Instant Messaging).
The Session Initiation Protocol is the IETF standard (RFC-3261, RFC-3515, RFC 2976...) for IM and VoIP addresses, and should co-exist along with E.164—the worldwide telephone numbering system.
alpha image transparency
The lack of support for alpha transparency, especially in PNG and TIFF files, makes creating clean-looking Web sites, PowerPoint presentations, and other documents impossible or tedius.
Data Matrix
Public-domain 2D barcode, codified in the ISO/IEC16022 and MIL-STD-130L standards.
Infrared data transfer and object transfer over IR and Bluetooth for exchanging contacts, calendars, and more.
vCard 3.0
RFC 2425, RFC 2426, RFC 2739, and RFC 4770.
An open standard for exchanging and publishing event and personal calendars, to-do lists, and free/busy time. RFC 2445, RFC 2446, & RFC 2447.
An industry-standard Mobile Data Synchronization Protocol, for synchronizing contacts, calendars, etc. among computing devices.
MPEG-4 Part 10 (a.k.a. H.264/AVC)
The MPEG-4 Advanced Video Codec profile, used by Apple’s iChat AV, which should be the primary videoconferencing encoding.
FireWire 800
The best replacement for serial, parallel, and SCSI ports.

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Standards Bodies

ASME—American Society of Mechanical Engineers
CEA—Consumer Electronics Association
ETSI—European Telecommunications Standards Institute
HGA Home Gateway Initiative
IETF—Internet Engineering Task Force
ISO—International Standards Orginization
ITU—International Telecommunications Union
NIST—National Institute of Standards and Technology
SAE—Society of Automotive Engineers
W3C—World Wide Web Consortium
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