Here are some tips from Adam Bosworth (who worked on ODBC, XML, etc.) on how to build a successful standard:
1. Keep the standard as simple and stupid as possible.
2. The data being exchanged should be human readable and easy to understand.
3. Standards work best when they are focused.
4. Standards should have precise encodings.
5. Always have real implementations that are actually being used as part of design of any standard.
6. Put in hysteresis for the unexpected.
7. Make the spec itself free, public on the web, and include lots of simple examples on the web site.
To all those involved in trying to create RETS data (not transport) standards, how many of these have we followed?
(h/t Joel Spolsky)