Engineer for Flexibility
Engineering for flexibility, so as to increase the likelihood of interoperability over time, includes several approaches discussed above:
- Bias toward use of COTS. Development of an architecture should rely as much as possible on the commercial market, and system designs should be based on compositions of COTS components. Then a substantial burden for interoperability, as well as continued development of the components, is passed to the commercial sector. Strategies for using COTS are discussed in section 4.3.3. This approach depends upon an acceptance of the "80% solution," discussed in more detail in section 4.3.2.
- Use of standards. Use of technical standards is one way of planning for the future. Compliance with technical standards is an investment that facilitates, though by no means guarantees, future interoperability. Interfaces are another investment in the future; by providing well-defined ways of accessing systems and capabilities, they facilitate components composed in new ways in the future, or new uses of existing systems.
- Investment in metadata. Another investment in
future interoperability is the use of sufficient metadata to enable data
collected or generated by a system to be used in future applications in ways
beyond the original intent. For example, providing geo-location data along
with imagery makes it easier to use the imagery in a wider variety of