From: Tim Bray [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2000 10:55 AM
To: Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com; email@example.com
Subject: Re: Dangers of Subsetting? (was RE: Pull-based XML parsers?)
At 09:30 AM 10/11/00 -0500, Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com wrote:
> Mike, perhaps you should make it
> clear that this is a personal opinion, not Software AG's take? I'd
> have trouble doing business with any vendor that didn't see the
> business case for interoperability of their tools and my data.
Tim is absolutely right. Everything I say here is totally my own personal opinion, not in any way that of my employer. And for the record, my employer is fully committed to the W3C, full conformance with the Recommendations, etc. and I spend a good deal of my time trying to help define W3C specifications. I was talking about the "theoretical concept of interoperability" simply because the XML world hasn't seen as much of it in practice as we talk about in theory. After all interoperability between "my data" and *all* the tools out there is the whole POINT of Common XML, which started this discussion. But my sentence was poorly worded (shouldn't post just after getting up!) and I apologize for any confusion.
Nevertheless, we weren't talking about high-end vendors in this thread; it was Rick's use of the term "boycott" with respect to those tools (the one in question is aimed at PDAs, and is from a university) that do not claim to be fully conformant that stimulated my (rather muddled) response. I think it's quite important to encourage exploration of the "space" described by the various XML Recommendations to find those subsets that provide the best interoperability as well as the best reliability, time to market, performance, etc. Responsible vendors of XML tools have little choice in the matter -- we should and must support the Recommendations as they stand now. But this is not to say that the XML Industry as a whole should accept them as "cast in concrete" standards like screw sizes or lightbulb socket threads. This -- in my very humble, and very personal opinion -- is premature. The "dustbin of history" is littered with standards that never achieved their objective because, again in my personal opinion, they were based on the opinions of experts rather than the experience of legions of real users. I'm simply advocating flexibility and experimentation in the XML specifications until we better hear what the voice of experience has to say.