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  • From: Peter Murray-Rust <peter@ursus.demon.co.uk>
  • To: "'xml-dev'" <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Sat, 05 Feb 2000 15:51:39 +0000

At 05:07 PM 2/2/00 -0800, Tim Bray wrote:
>And this would be a good time to say THANK YOU to Henry and Peter for having
>kept this engine running for the last 3 years; this community, and hence the
>web as a whole, owe you a debt.  -Tim

Many thanks for the kind words on this list.

Henry and I are delighted to know that the future of the list does not
depend on the potentially fragile organisation we have had up to now.  [We
have been holding our breath over the last few weeks and trying to keep
morale high!] We wish every success to the new maintainers and will be
happy to share experience if necessary. However, we have handed over our
child and are prepared for it to grow as it decides, not us.

May I suggest some ideas for the future?

(a) it would be useful to have an XML-DEV Home page. We have never had this
so far - primarily because the actual server was outwith our control. I
produced XML-JEWELS at one stage but it was on a very fragile server. The
page could contain brief historical details, some highlights, pointers to
XML-DEV abstracters (eclectic, xml-deviant, etc.) and any moderatorial
comments that may have been made which set the scene at a particular time.
[As Henry and I have been archiving the list for VirtualXML, we may spot
some of these.]

(b) moderatorial. It was clear from the comments that were posted recently
to the list and me that the members appreciate the current self-policing
format and no heavy hands. I think it's useful simply to abstract any
relevant moderatorial postings to the home page so that newcomers can get a
rapid overview of the general principles - but these principles are, of
course, mutable.
	I think it's inappropriate for *me* to continue to post LISTRIVIA (i.e.
nagging people about quoting and sigs). I resurrected this recently in case
the new maintainers would like to continue this. No-one screamed, and so if
they wish to say "XML-DEV has a policy of normalisation and conciseness in
quoting... "and occasionally remind people of this I would strongly support
	I will continue to post my own views, which from now on have the intrinsic
force they deserve - no more or less. Since I believe passionately in the
need for XML to remain as simple as possible I shall occasionally post on
this subject, in keeping with the "design goals" of XML itself. I also
believe in the great success of communal software and protocol development
and may, perhaps, encourage people to pursue activities.
	But anyone is free to tell me I'm talking rubbish...

(c) List traffic size. 1200 mails/month is a lot and I have been thinking
how - if at all - this could be reduced by fissioning. I've convinced
myself that at present this is impossible - the subjects almost all
interact with each other. It would be a serious mistake to try to split
into (say) software, semantics and ontology, specs, etc. And almost all the
postings are of very high quality - apart from the quoting there is little
that could be reduced.

(d) white papers and prototypes. It becomes clearer every day that the
tough problems of semantics and other challenges need somewhere like
XML-DEV for their serious discussion. I hope that with the current
membership there are enough people who would like to try to support some of
this through papers. This again suggest that it would be useful to have a
home page where (at least pointers to) these pages could be mounted.

(e) abstracting and indexing. I am delighted to see that this is
happening. I don't know what other tools might help here. However if some
future being wishes to edit the history of this list let's give her/him/it
as much help as possible.

Henry and Peter

We shall continue to be as active in XML as we have been. We have been
developing the material for VirtualXML - (http://www.cmlconsulting.com) our
virtual learning environment for XML - and shall be making an announcement
very shortly. [We have been waiting for the final XML-DEV transfer]. There
has been a lot of interest and we have taken many comments on board.

We are also very pleased to see CML starting to be adopted. Not
surprisingly the first adopters are non-profit orgs who care about
standards (regulators, *.gov, agencies, etc.) We are starting to see an
OpenSource movement in the development of XML/CML-aware software - the more
that we can base this on generic tools like editors the better. But a
"small" domain like chemistry is much less able to support the development
of high-quality software and it will be a challenge. We'd be very
interested to know about any scientific/technical/medical initiatives in
XML where chemistry would be involved.

Also I have just written a book review on XML for the Times Higher
Educational Supplement - don't know whether it's online (yet). I explore
the idea that paper books are not completely ideal for learning XML, and I
highlight the role of *.orgs like OASIS!



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