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   Re: W3C XML Schema Questionaire

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  • From: "Michael Champion" <Mike.Champion@softwareag-usa.com>
  • To: <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 00:30:06 -0400

----- Original Message -----
From: "Amy Lewis" <amyzing@talsever.com>
To: <xml-dev@xml.org>
Sent: Thursday, July 06, 2000 8:27 PM
Subject: Re: W3C XML Schema Questionaire

> Is *anyone* going to answer that it's okay to have "flaws"?   This is
> the kind of argument that us developers use with managers, and as the
> managers always answer, so I'll transform the question:

A development manager who says "I promised it with the specified features
and within budget by the end of the second quarter, so it will ship on June
30th or heads will roll" is essentially saying "it's OK to have flaws".
He/she may deny it, but we all know that that's the reality.

Likewise, if the Schema spec goes to Recommendation status before there is
extensive implementation experience by *independent* developers and *proof*
that the independent implementations of the spec interoperate cleanly, then
the W3C is essentially saying "it's OK to have flaws ... we'll fix them
later ... but we have to get the spec out now [for some reason or other]."

Again, no manager (or standards body) would put it quite as bluntly as
Jonathan Robie did, but this is the reality that we live in: It may be that
a flawed spec *now* is better than a better spec someday.  I happen to
disagree with this with respect to Schema today, but we were faced with a
very similar choice in DOM Level 1 two years ago: The WG *knew* that if the
DOM Recommendation didn't come out before IE5 (and, we thought at the time,
Netscape 5), that it would have missed its window of opportunity to be
relevant.  A "flawed" standard (we probably used euphemisms such as "slighly
buggy" or "not completely stable") was considered to be better than no
standard.  In retrospect, I think we did the right thing.

Similarly, the Schema WG may pat themselves on the back a couple years from
now because they got the thing out the door, warts and all ... or they may
curse their stupidity for not taking time to do it right, which <dream> left
the field open for the ISO's dramatic re-establishment of its credibility in
the markup language space back in 2001 with the simple yet powerful Relax
standard </dream>.

It's not *obvious* that a great schema spec in two years is better for us as
developers, XML advocates, and businesspeople than a "flawed" schema spec
this year. Jonathan's just asking us to privately weigh this and let the
Schema WG know our decision.  FWIW, I would tell the Schema WG the same
thing I'd tell a development manager who needs a product released on an
unreasonable schedule: it's far better to sacrifice features than quality.
Strip the feature set down so that it meets everyone's fundamental need for
DTD functionality in XML syntax with reasonable data types, get the "Level
1" spec out as soon as that's proven stable, then add all the other neat
stuff in Level 2, 3, ....

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