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   RE: Microsoft's Role in the XML Community (WAS RE: Important: Th e SAX

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  • From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>
  • To: XML Developers List <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 09:00:49 -0500

I think we're saying the same thing. EDI is a tough 
challenge for consensus.  PDES went on for years 
and even where they got consensus on ideas, getting sharable 
implementations was much harder.  

The point is in exercising the critical functionality that 
Goldfarb invented for markup, a validatible agreement for 
processes that depend on it.  The first level 
as you note has been to get a near universal consensus 
on that. XML constrained that further by removing 
the need to agree on the lexical constraints in 
an SGML Declaration.  On the other hand, XML introduces 
the potential for landgrabs with namespace declarations 
and further confused it by not doing a good job 
understanding the legal niceties of Formal Public 
Identifiers (system independent names for formal 
records of authority) and why one should not 
put HTTP in front of any formal public name (Not system independent). 
Neither Peter nor I are new to this.  We are veterans 
of the struggles of communities to create such 
agreements.  In fact, suggestions that EDI could 
be markup based were roundly ignored by the EDI 
community until the pervasiveness of Internet 
infrastructure made it an irresistable bargain.

It is easy to speculate about a "frictionless 
economy" or a "semantic web" and these are nice 
visions to have.  However, if one thinks that just having 
the DTD or schema makes such agreements easy to abide by, they 
have yet to work with a system that demands the 
document be opened to determine which namespaces 
it demands support for, who owns them, and if 
they resolve to local semantics.  XML does NOT 
send semantics with the data.  Java and XML 
can, but not XML alone.  It is the first bit.  All in all, 
yes, markup makes it easier, but it demands 
that the humans engage actively and where they 
do not, exposes it quickly, and where it fails 
to do that, opens the door for cascading catastrophes.  

Therefore, one can project that a fitness factor 
for organizations to thrive in this environment will be 
a capacity for cooperation and negotiation, not 
that this has not existed before, but that now 
it becomes a primary, testable characteristic.  This environment 
shapes itself by promoting the success of such 
organizations, enabling their propagation and by 
doing this, reshapes other aspects of the global 
business and social environments.  As one member 
of the list posted to me, between XML and the web, 
third worlders with good skills if poor countries 
are seeing a chance to really compete, really better 
their own chances, and engage.  It is a most 
satisfying potential for those who labored a long 
time as one writer put it, "in relative obscurity" 
to make this chance possible.

Len Bullard
Intergraph Public Safety

Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti.
Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h

-----Original Message-----
From: Joshua Allen [mailto:joshuaa@microsoft.com]

I have to disagree just a bit.  I think that successful
implementation of EDI took much more consensus among
the parties involved.  Of course we all have to agree
on what XSLT is and what XML is, but after that, it is
much easier than ever before to deal with a pragmatic
world where people disagree.

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