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   Re: XSchema Question 2: Namespaces

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  • From: Peter Murray-Rust <peter@ursus.demon.co.uk>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Thu, 04 Jun 1998 17:26:02

Many thanks for taking time to write, Jon

At 16:59 03/06/98 -0700, Jon Bosak wrote:
>[Peter Murray-Rust:]
>| 	- although there is no formal process, we have been informed
>| several times of potential developments by the W3C which helped guide
>| our activities. For example, JonB notified us of the change of
>| caseSensistivity and also of the major revision in XSL. If we were
>| doing something utterly foolish here I would expect that we would pick
>| up some gentle hints.
>I have very mixed feelings about this thread (which I don't have time
>to follow in detail).  On the one hand, what you are engaged in here
>is, strictly speaking, wasted motion; the XML WG will define the
>standard for schemas, and the probability is high that it will use at
>best just a little bit of what you come up with as input.  On the
>other hand, some of the discussion here may turn out to be quite
>useful.  I don't have a problem with seeing it continue as long as you
>understand that very little of what you do may end up in the final

I think we all agree that it is - strictly speaking - 'wasted motion' in
formal W3C terms. I see what we are doing rather as the 'research'
department of a company where we do not have to produce a product for the
market, but can address things that may have value in their own right or
may provide useful experience. The goal is to have something by the end of
the month which will be simple, implementable and provide something useful
that isn't currently available. If it's throw-away in 6 months none of
those involved are going to lose sleep.

My motivation is the following:
	- I need something now. I had to have a 'schema' for CML under JUMBO1. I
need to rewrite it because of the change in namespaces - NB I *expect*
things to break because of spec changes :-). So if I can use this to build
the next phase of CML software (which is also due for revision) it saves me
time and effort. When the full schema draft is available I will have to
decide whether it addresses the needs of the chemical community :-)

	- It allows me to do generic things that I can't otherwise do. These include:
		editing a DTD
		documenting a DTD (I have horrible problems at present getting
machine-readable documentation out of a DTD)
		controlling an editor with (part of) a DTD.

	- It is a valuable project for the XML-DEV community. Simon has commented
on the large number of people who have corresponded with him. I have no
idea whether any/many are W3C members, but it seems that people are happy
to help create something here. Assuming we are *technically* successful,
that helps build up a virtual community which knows how to tackle problems
in a virtual manner. In that respect I feel the current membership is
rather special :-).

	- It makes me faster at implementing the next step - whatever that is.
>I'm a lot less bothered by the fact that this work is going on than I
>am by the fear that the participants will be distracted from putting
>any energy into XML/XSL browser implementations when the first XSL
>draft becomes available next month.

I would hate to think we were diverting mainstream activity - and unless
there is evidence otherwise I doubt that we are. I'd like to think that we
are adding to the communal resources by creating an arena where ideas and
components are potentially valuable and re-usable.

Personally there is no way that *I* can tackle the current XSL spec since
the requirements are quite outside my capability even to comprehend :-)
There is a very large emphasis on typography - implementing XSL requires it
to have the functionality of TeX as a subset. 

What concerned me about the XSL spec - and I don't have any formal input
into it - is that there was very little support for anything other than
paper/screen-image rendering. IOW it doesn't appear to support interactive
processes such as buttons, etc. [this may be hidden in the details]. To
this extent I feel that to support a very different domain - molecular
science - where paper is not necessarily the prime focus, we shall have to
develop our own tools on top of the XML specs. I see the current XSchema
project as being useful for that. 

An additional point is that there is a requirement for some of us for XML
transformations/patterns/rules etc. to be used outside the XSL framework.
My understanding was that the W3C was not addressing this other than in an
XSL context. For example some of us need the 'pattern' stuff from XSL (at
least the last draft) but not the formatting/rendering - the output might
go to a chemical robot for example. 

I don't think that this alters the informal relation between XML-DEV and
the formal W3C processes. Since a member of a W3C group felt sufficiently
strongly about our activities that it led to voluminous (and unacceptable)
personal abuse I felt I should explore whether there were more general

Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
net connection
VSMS http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vsms, Virtual Hyperglossary

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