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- From: Lisa Rein <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- To: Frank Manola <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 09:33:08 -0700
I agree that, in the future, hopefully, these will all become
semantic issues (said with tear welling in eye).
Frank Manola wrote:
> At 8:55 PM -0700 4/16/98, Tim Bray wrote:
> >At 10:35 PM 14/04/98 -0500, len bullard wrote:
> >>> [Chris Maden <firstname.lastname@example.org>:]
> >>> > One fundamental flaw in _XML Complete_ is Holzner's apparent belief
> >>> > that you must write Java code in order to do anything useful with
> >>> > XML.
> >>Markup doesn't care. That's the beauty of it. :-
> >Yes! What he said. As a result of having been a programmer since
> >A.D. 1979, my faith in interoperable APIs is torn and shredded.
> >But I think that interoperable syntax is usefully achievable.
> >Hence, XML. -T.
> and Matthew Gertner wrote:
> >Eliot Kimber indicated some scepticism as to whether OO techniques have
> >really lived up to their hype. In terms of a controlled environment, they
> >have. Any C programmer who has moved onto C++ will attest that OO features
> >make it far easier to write extensible and maintainable code. On the other
> >hand, the promise that this would lead to interchangeable components that
> >could be used anywhere has clearly been a flop. Why? For exactly the reason
> >Tim mentioned in his mail: interoperable APIs never work. You can't
> >interface with code and expect this interface to apply to any environment
> >other than the one it was specifically designed for. This is the case
> >whatever technology you are using (DLLs, Java, JavaBeans, Smalltalk, COM,
> >CORBA, etc.). Hence XML.
> These observations about the (at least so far) lack of success with truly
> interoperable APIs are certainly true, and the potential of interoperable
> syntax "feels" right, but I wonder to what extent we may be comparing
> apples and oranges here. Specifically, what do we mean by "interoperable"?
> Interoperable APIs are hard at least in part because an incredible amount
> of semantics are (implicitly) built into a typical API (as is suggested by
> Matthew's comment). Moreover, interoperable APIs are held to a "strict
> accountability": the programs interacting through them must work without
> either syntactic or semantic errors (and, with programs, these are
> typically all bundled up). However, if programs must agree on the precise
> meanings of tagged data in order to guarantee proper operation when
> exchanging data (and what else does a fair understanding of "interoperable"
> mean in this context?), won't the semantics that must be mutually
> understood be (approximately) just as complex? And don't we then need to
> consider the mechanism(s) for achieving *that* in our comparisons? After
> all, it's not enough that the programs be "interoperable" in the sense that
> they can each "operate" (e.g., read, parse, or even approximately get the
> meaing) on the other's data; the operation must also be "correct" in a
> fairly constrained sense. I have in mind all the problems large companies
> are having merging data from different databases into data warehouses due
> to sometimes subtle differences in semantics (e.g,, of what a "customer"
> is), even when the data item names (corresponding to markup) are the same
> (or, at least, fairly regular). I'm not, here, arguing *against* the idea
> of interoperable syntax, but I am questioning how easy it will really be to
> get the degree of "interoperability" we seem to be implicitly expecting.
> Frank Manola www: http://www.objs.com
> Object Services and Consulting, Inc. email: email@example.com
> 151 Tremont Street #22R voice: 617 426 9287
> Boston, MA 02111
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