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   Re: A call for XML 1.1

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  • From: "Michael Champion" <Mike.Champion@softwareag-usa.com>
  • To: <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 12:20:38 -0400

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rick JELLIFFE" <ricko@geotempo.com>
To: <xml-dev@xml.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2000 4:59 AM
Subject: A call for XML 1.1

> I think XML should be bent to fit in with people's expectations:

I fervently agree!

> This is not a call for minimalism.


> I fear that the advent of SML and Common XML will only
> legitimize more fragmentation; like a drowning man knocking a lifesaver
> unconshus.

FWIW, I'm convinced that fragmentation is a fact of life that needs to be
managed rather than an evil that can be prohibited. I have been agonizing
about the dangers of fragmentation ever since the "SML" discussions here
last autumn, but Peter Murray-Rust's post the other day was the last straw:
Despite the best intentions of XML's founders, after two years the major
implementations of the core spec -- not to mention SVG -- still permit
interoperability only if authors limit themseleves to something like Common
XML and don't depend on validation, parsed entities, etc.

Some users of XML have very minimal needs; many others would be best served
by sticking closely to the "Common XML" guidelines.  Even the power users
who inhabit this list will become overwhelmed by the proposed XML 1.1
flavors *plus* XLink, XSL (with it's two major variants), XML Schema, etc.

> I am all for plurality and competition; but only in a managable
> framework. This either requires some "features manifest" system or a
> rationalization of XML. I suggest that a rationalization would meet
> user's legitimate expectations better, and require less change to the
> XML Spec.

I agree that these are the options, although I strongly favor the "features
manifest" solution.  "Rationalization" would be an option only *if* the W3C
dropped everything and focussed on this problem, vendors sacrificed
backwards compatibility for interoperability, implementors chose full
conformance over performance and time-to-market ... and I'm sure that there
are other equally improbable contingencies I'm forgetting!

In other words, rationalization ain't gonna happen.  Since the W3C and the
vendors aren't going to be able to define a universal XML community in which
everyone can interoperate, the only realistic alternative is a way of
negotiating contracts between producers and consumers of XML as to which of
the character encoding schemes, XML features, and related standards one must
support order to participate in some XML sub-community.  That is not as nice
a vision as the one of universal interoperability that guided XML 1.0 and
Rick Jelliffe's XML 1.1 proposal, but it seems far more achieveable to me.

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