- Do not reinvent the wheel. Reuse and adapt existing specifications if they fulfill your requirements. Only create when needed.
- Make everything as generic as possible. Even if your requirements are very precise, try to make your solution generic enough to be reused for other requirements.
- SIP sessions make use of the Session Description Protocol (SDP), which was specified prior to SIP. In effect, it is possible to use SDP without SIP.
- SIP SUBSCRIBE and NOTIFY methods were initially created to support a very specific requirement, actually related to the telecom domain (the support of the telephony Automatic Call Back service with SIP). However, it was decided to make the concept a generic and extensible means to distribute event notifications in a SIP network through event packages (see the first draft for SUBSCRIBE/NOTIFY here). When a part of the IETF community decided to support presence through SIP, they simply had to reuse the event package specification and create two presence-specific event packages. While the requirement was initially very specific, it gave birth to a concept that is fundamental for SIP and constantly evolving through the creation of new event packages. It is actually remarkable that this is a telephony -related requirement that led to a SIP concept which opens the door to a large variety of non-telephony related applications of the protocol.
- In the Instant Messaging (IM) area, presence was initially no more than a single state, describing if a recipient could accept an IM. The IETF decision to support presence through the inclusion of an XML document in the body of SIP methods, and allowing extensions to the basic schema, permitted the definition of presence to be gradually extended to become a large set of information about users (or services), their communication means, terminals and applications.
- SIP PUBLISH was initially created specifically for a client to remotely update presence information. The first versions of the draft were tightly linked to the presence event package and made impossible the reuse of PUBLISH in different contexts (see the very first draft here). However, the IETF community rapidly ensured the possibility to reuse PUBLISH for all existing and future event packages. PUBLISH therefore contributed to the enrichment of SIP-based presence, but at the same time a requirement initially scoped to presence contributed to the enrichment of the whole SIP protocol.
- Instant Messaging through SIP was initially supported only through the creation of a new SIP method: MESSAGE. However, it rapidly emerged that this approach was far from optimal to support all potential requirements associated to instant messaging: the concept of chat, which embeds IMs in a specific dialog context, the need to potentially exchange large documents via IM (e.g. a video file) while SIP is a control protocol and not a transport one like HTTP, or the need to support potentially high IM traffic while a SIP infrastructure might not have been implemented with this purpose in mind. It took time and several tries for the IETF community to address these requirements, and the final decision was to reuse the concept of SIP session as well as another protocol to transport an IM within the session. As a protocol like HTTP was not optimal to support the requirements for this IM transport protocol, it was decided to specify a new one called MSRP. This decision makes the comparison between Jabber/XMPP and SIP to support IM very biased. Maybe Jabber/XMPP is a better protocol than SIP for IM. However, Jabber/XMPP was initially specified and optimized for it, making its extension for, say VoIP, far from straightforward. On the other hand, in a SIP context, IM can be perceived as one communication component among others in a multimedia session.
A quite similar comparison can be applied to MMS and the equivalent support through IMS messaging.