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   Re: XML Schema WG changing gears (was Re: Schema concepts)

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  • From: Matthew Gertner <m_gertner@yahoo.com>
  • To: XML-Dev Mailing list <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 02:17:13 -0800 (PST)

Michael Champion wrote:
> Agitation on XML-DEV last fall clearly led to a
> simplification of the
> namepaces in the XHTML spec, it could happen again. 
> Wait until the next
> draft (which I have
> heard has taken pains in the direction of clarity
> and simplicity); if it is
> too complex, then make clear, specific
> recommendations as to how to simplify
> it to this list, the Schema public comment list,
> your company's W3C
> participants (if applicable), your
> partners/suppliers who are W3C
> participants, etc.

The analogy with XHTML is instructive. It is
heartening to hear that the WG is planning significant
simplifications in the next draft. Nevertheless, one
of the main problems in the XHTML namespace debate was
the time it took for someone to take a clear statement
of the justification for the 3 namespace decision. As
it turns out, despite the very understable desire of
the XHTML WG to take advantage of their inertia to
push the spec through to Recommendation, this
justification (when finally forthcoming) wasn't
absolutely satisfying and the decision ended up being

The same could easily happen with schemas. What we
have seen is that people on this list who are
struggling to implement XML Schema (and I would add my
voice strongly to this group) are seeking an
explanation of why certain design decisions were made.
It's hard to have any discussion about whether these
decisions should be reversed without this information.
We can all hold tight until the next spec release, I'm
sure, before making concrete suggestions for changes.
But I don't see any reason why someone in the WG can't
make a public statement about the practical
implications of the issues that have been raised:

1) Separate element/type hierarchies
2) Two types of inheritance (by extension and by
3) equivClass

This person doesn't have to be the editor of the spec,
and the answer could easily be "we are still thinking
about this issue and it might change soon". But if
these things seem likely to be in the next spec, there
should be some public explanation now beyond the
assertion that these constructs have some theoretical

No one wants XML schema to succeed (in terms of broad
acceptance) more than I do. Excessive complexity is
the biggest risk to this not happening, as many
examples have in the past (I won't name names). Can't
someone in the WG take the time to give us some
practical examples of where the constructs I mentioned
above add real value? At very least this will help to
jumpstart discussion when the next version of the spec
is released.


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