OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help



   RE: Open Standards Processes (WAS Re: Nesting XML based languages and

[ Lists Home | Date Index | Thread Index ]
  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <SimonStL@classic.msn.com>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Fri, 24 Apr 98 13:19:32 UT

Len Bullard suggested:

>o  All drafts posted to the web at all times.  Anyone can
>   read and anyone can contribute.  Only a few people edit
>   and ISO makes the rules for these people, not the consortia.
>   Ensures openness and "a level playing field".

Frank Boumphrey added:

>What about us poor authors!! We have to write "knowledgeably" about a
>subject that doesn't even exist. Our books usually appear at about the same
>time as a spec which invalidates every thing we have written!!

While I sympathize with everyone's impatience, and have lived Frank's 'poor 
authors' issue repeatedly, I would hesitate to change the XML process 
dramatically at this point.  The discussions on this list in the past few days 
about 'semantics' alone have shown once again the kinds of rocks on which this 
kind of project may founder if it opens up too widely.  XML-Dev would probably 
be a much louder list than it is if people felt their comments would have a 
direct impact on the standard, instead of the informal listening that (I 
think) does go on here.  I'm not sure all of that loud would be useful or 

This is a significant turnaround in my thinking.  When I was working on XML: A 
Primer, I even briefly contemplated joining the W3C (as a sole proprietor, if 
necessary) before choking on the cost.  That prior access to standards would 
have been very useful, and I'm surprised there aren't more publishers who are 
members.  Waiting for new recommendations to arrive was something of an agony, 
especially as they were often barely announced or announced late.  Reading the 
proposed recommendation and the W3C recommendation was especially scary, as 
the book was heading to the printer shortly after the PR arrived.  
Fortunately, it wasn't too bad.

Looking back on last year, for all the damage it may have done to my stomach 
lining, I think the WG did an excellent job of announcing significant changes 
and releasing specs in a timely manner. The occasional announcements to this 
list, such as the one on case-sensitivity, made it possible to keep the book 
(my 'implementation') in sync with the standard throughout the development 
process.  It's not 100% perfect (an RMD slipped through, and I couldn't get 
xml:lang or xml:space into the book in time - see 
http://members.aol.com/simonstl/xmlupdate if you need the fixes so far), but 
it still feels really good.  The changes to Linking and XPointers will make 
Chapter 10 come unstuck, but I'm glad to see new activity.

The other important tack I took was conservatism in my 'implementation'.  With 
a title like 'A Primer', there was no need to cover every possibility.  I gave 
XSL a sidebar and a general description, and focused more on CSS.  The XML 
coverage in the book focuses on syntax, the core standard that is a lot more 
stable than the rest.  I'd like very much to cover XSL in detail - but it'll 
have to wait for another edition, when the specification is much more stable.  
It was important to get the book out to the waiting crowds, but I think I 
managed to balance my publisher's promised ship dates (and mine) with the 
reality of XML's development.

The W3C has (finally) gotten itself ahead of the implementors again.  I'd much 
rather have them in the lead than trailing behind, as was the case for a 
number of years on the HTML standard.  Staying ahead of the implementors is 
going to take a lot of discipline and (probably) a lot of closed-door 
discussion. For now at least, I think that's a reasonable price to pay for 
standards as useful as these.  I don't think that process will last forever, 
but for now it seems sensible.

Simon St.Laurent
Dynamic HTML: A Primer / XML: A Primer / Cookies

xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
Archived as: http://www.lists.ic.ac.uk/hypermail/xml-dev/
To (un)subscribe, mailto:majordomo@ic.ac.uk the following message;
(un)subscribe xml-dev
To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo@ic.ac.uk the following message;
subscribe xml-dev-digest
List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa@ic.ac.uk)


News | XML in Industry | Calendar | XML Registry
Marketplace | Resources | MyXML.org | Sponsors | Privacy Statement

Copyright 2001 XML.org. This site is hosted by OASIS