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   Re: Parser Behaviour (serious)

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  • From: Peter Murray-Rust <peter@ursus.demon.co.uk>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2000 20:44:28 +0100

At 12:54 PM 4/7/00 -0400, Bob Kline wrote:
>On Thu, 6 Apr 2000, Peter Murray-Rust wrote:
>> Some posters have suggested that we are attempting to develop a
>> "standard".  I don't think so - it may simply be that a common,
>> agreed way of treating documents is all that is required.
>I'm having a little difficulty appreciating the distinction you're
>trying to make here.  You stated in your original posting for this
>thread that "XML 1.0 is broken as an interoperable standard" because it
>failed its task of "specifying parser behaviour," and issued an eloquent
>call to arms to correct this deficiency.  Assume that this activity
>succeeds in formulating a statement which specifies expected behaviors
>sufficiently clearly and unambiguously that (for example) we can
>evaluate the array of available packages to determine the conformance
>levels of those packages.  Assume further that this specification is
>widely adopted ("common, agreed way ..." to use your phrase).  Whether
>or not you're able to convince the framers of the original broken
>standard to incorporate this specification of conformant behavior in
>future versions of the W3C recommendations, what is there to gain by
>avoiding the word "standard" for such a specification?  

	I was trying to be politic. The word "standard" seems to upset a lot of
people. On XML-DEV we cannot realistically announce that we are going to
create a standard. We can, perhaps, show that a certain way of doing things
is so self-evidently useful that a large body of people use it. When that
happens it may be useful to call it a "de facto standard" or it may be
useful to keep quiet.

	I want to catalyse the formation of a group of enthusiast to produce a
simple solution that is usable among consenting parties. If that spread to
it being incorporated in high-profile software, great. If the W3C groups
look down favourably on this effort (as they have on some similar ones in
the past), fine.

	As an example, Henry Rzepa and I spent an afternoon in the pub in
Greenford bashing out an RFC to stamp chemical files with MIME types. We
submitted it as an RFC and published it informally in the chemical
e-community. It spread very rapidly and now everyone uses it. The IETF did
not accept it as an RFC, but it has been profoundly valuable among chemists. 

We are going to need something like that for this problem.

	Best wishes


If on the other
>hand this effort fails to produce such a clear specification of
>conformant behavior, or the specification is not widely adopted, what
>will have been accomplished?
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