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   Re: Irony heaped on irony

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  • From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
  • To: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 05:04:45 -0500

"Simon St.Laurent" wrote:
> At 10:43 AM 5/18/00 -0500, Dan Connolly wrote:
> >I think that on the contrary, it's important that the schema spec
> >leads the way toward the self-describing web.
> I'm deeply concerned that this rush toward the 'self-describing web' is
> taking us closer and closer to the 'self-destructing web', as a large
> number of controversial issues are being glossed over in the interest of
> making namespaces point to schemas, today.

Hmm... I have a hard time seeing this a rush. The ideas have been
around and discussed in the abstract here and there for years
and years. We made a big step with XML 1.0 where the element structure
of a document is clear whether you look at the DTD or not,
which allowed us to consider using something other than DTD syntax
to describe the structure of XML documents, which allowed us
to start work on XML Schemas.

We spent a year talking about the details of using the Web to
find out about markup vocabularies during the development of RDF
and the Namespaces spec, and another 12+ months during the development
of XML schemas.

Now we have an XML Schema spec that is (hopefully) complete,
if not entirely clear yet, and we have a bunch of coding going on.
If the coding and stuff shows that it won't work, I'll be
disappointed, but I'll have to accept that. On the other hand,
if the coding and stuff shows that it does work and it's useful,
then that will speak for itself too.

> The particular path being proposed to the 'self-describing web' is of
> questionable value, built on a spec that's been controversial since its
> first appearance and which continues to raise new questions.

I have no questions about the value of a self-describing web. I accept
that you have questions, and that you're not alone. What better way
to address these questions than to try it out?

> As much as people hate it, maybe it's time to slow down, get some
> experience with how these things work in practice, and move toward the
> 'self-describing web' when (and only when) the parts involved are
> well-understood and considered clean.

Well... here we are... just about done with XML Schema last call
and getting ready for Candidate Recommendation, exactly the
part of the W3C process intended to gather implementation
experience. If the experience exposes problems, then we'll
have to think some more.

But I hope you aren't suggesting that we all just think about this
stuff in the abstract until we get warm fuzzies. I intend
to code up some stuff and work out the details in practice.

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/

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