De Jure Standard

The opposite of an informal de-facto standard is the 'de jure' standard, meaning 'by force of law'.

A de jure standard is one developed and approved by an official organisation. For example the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) has the authority to create electrical standards such as wireless communication

On a global level ISO, the International Standards Organisation was set up to create standards. They have produced over 18,500 formal standards covering everything from quality control to making tractors

The usual way for a de jure standard to be created is to

  1. First of all identify a need for the standard. For example people wanted to make wireless enabled computer equipment but there was no standard in place to make sure equipment would be compatible. There was no de-facto standard in place either
  2. Identify an organisation that has the expertise to create a standard. In the case of wireless the IEEE was chosen.
  3. Form an expert group. Usually experts from industry are invited to sit on the committee. In the case of wireless the group was called '802'.
  4. Create a draft standard. This is the ideas stage, the experts seek opinions from industry.
  5. Refine the standard. This can take ages - many years - this is the main criticism of de jure standards, they can be extremely slow to come out.
  6. Publish the final standard. For example 802.11n is a wireless communication standard

Examples of de jure standards

  • Wireless 802.11n
  • Internet TCP / IP protocol
  • ASCII character set
  • Unicode international character encoding

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