Standards, specifications, and recommendations—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.
Standards That Every High-Tech Software Developer and Product Designer Must Understand
- URI Schemes
- The format of URLs (more properly known as URIs) is, along with the HTTP protocol, the key foundation of the Internet. Abusing these rules puts the reliable operation of the Web at risk.
- XHTML, XML, CSS, XSLT
- 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 5.2.0
- 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
tel(Dial a phone number),
ipp(Internet Printing Protocol), and
- 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.
- IrDA & OBEX
- 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.
Additional standards bodies are listed on the University of Texas at Austin’s library site.
- 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