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   Re: To Relax or not to Relax

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  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Sun, 14 May 2000 09:40:53 -0400

At 08:27 PM 5/14/00 +0800, Rick JELLIFFE wrote:
>Terren Suydam wrote:
>> Do you think Relax might ultimately be superior to XML Schemas?
>Is the motorbike superiour to the motorcar?  It is like that Woody Allen
>movie where his parents argued about whether the Atlantic Ocean was
>"greater" than the Pacific. 

Completely agreed - 'superiour' or 'superiour' is always in the eyes of the

For me, RELAX was a much-needed breath of fresh air (as were DSD and
Schematron, which are similarly intriguing) after spending years in what
now feel like more conventional schema approches (DTDs, DDML, XDR, SOX, XML

I don't present XML Schemas without presenting RELAX in my presentations
and books, though I've been giving XML Schemas more air time so far.  At
Software Development, I had a few questions from folks wondering why I
might want to use anything other than an OOP-based paradigm for defining
data structures, but I think in the end I convinced the that there is a
need for different approaches: top-down and bottom-up, structures and
hedges, information set modification and not.  We'll see what happens at
JavaOne and XMLDevCon 2000.

For my own (typically document-oriented) projects, RELAX looks like a
better fit.  For other people's applications, XML Schemas may well be a
better approach.  In both cases, I suggest to people that they consider
using Schematron to create human-friendly validation.

What I'd like to see most of all is tools that handle these schemas
interchangeably, whether they be editors or validators.  Making a
multi-schema universe (+DTDs, I expect) work will require a lot of effort.
Extensibility is already pushing hard in this direction with XML Authority,
and I was very glad to see their recent addition of support for RELAX
export.  On the other hand, I feel very much that my efforts to get XML
Packaging going have been effectively tilting at windmills, though perhaps
windmills will prove more important in Amsterdam.  (No, I won't be there.)

It also helps that the RELAX folks have a friendly-looking cat at the top
of their page, of course: http://www.xml.gr.jp/relax/.

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
Cookies / Sharing Bandwidth

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