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Re: Place under sun (was: XPointer and Sun patent)

> > "Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Core Specification
> > Version 1.0. W3C
> > Recommendation 13 November 2000"
> > (http://www.w3.org/TR/DOM-Level-2-Core)
> > specifies the collection of abstract DOM interfaces, as well
> > as bindings
> > for few languages.
> >
> > Bindings for the following languages are specified:
> >
> >     * Java
> >     * ECMAScript
> >
> > Why W3C does not follow the common practice followed by other standard
> > bodies, which provide bindings for various *standard* languages?

I disagreed with Alexey that the DOM WG ran so afoul in bundling a couple
of bindings, but your response to him makes me wonder.  I'm not accusing
you of speaking for the DOM WG, but...

Let me first ask this: The Python XML SIG has put together a Python/DOM
binding.  What would be the process for us to sublit it to the DOM WG in
order to give it standing according to the W3C, and preferably listing
alongside the Java and ECMAScript bindings?

Let me note that Martin von Loewis was able to get the OMG to standardize
the Python/CORBA binding in what appeared to me a pretty smooth process.

> First, the DOM is *defined* in OMG IDL, not any specific language.  The DOM
> supplies ECMAScript and Java bindings as a convenience, since the
> overwhelming majority of DOM applications were assumed to be in one of these
> two languages. (The most widely used in practice is probably COM/ActiveX,
> which is even less standard than Java).

So fair is fair.  In that case why isn't there a C++ binding?

> As for why the W3C (or in this case the DOM WG) did not follow the "common
> practice" of defining Ada, COBOL, C++, etc. bindings ... the simple reasons
> are lack of resources, lack of demand, and difficulty.  The WG allocated its
> scarce resources (people and time) in the way they judged best for the
> implementers and consumers of the DOM API.  I've never even heard anyone
> seriously asking for an Ada or COBOL binding before.  And given C++'s lack
> of automatic memory management, it would have complicated the API for all
> bindings to have had to address it for C++.

You have got to be kidding me.  What about DOM requires C++ users to deal
with memory-management issues?  It (at least through level 2) doesn't
handle object creation or ownership issues.

Second, the OMG has quite a few mechanisms to choose from in specifying
object life-cycle issues, and this is a very well-trodden issue in C++.

I suspect that this memory management matter is a red herring.  Do you
have any evidence that having a C++ binding would do so much violence to
the DOM spec?

> As for other languages, the
> assumption was than anyone who wanted a binding for COBOL (for example)
> could use an IDL -> COBOL converter; it might not be pretty (since OMG IDL
> was designed for remote access and would put additional arguments in the
> generated bindings), but it would work in an interoperable way.

Well, I must just note here that this would have been a lot easier to say
if the WG got the IDL right.  Thank goodness for the efforts of Duncan
Grisby and Martin von Loewis (both good Pythoneers, I must point out), who
helped straighten things out on www-wom@w3.org.

> Finally, for better or worse the W3C is a consortium of
> competing/cooperating vendors, not a "standards body."  It devotes its
> resources in ways that most directly meet the needs of the membership.
> Since "de facto standards" are what it produces (as someone noted, only the
> ISO, ITU, and a couple of other bodies produce "de jure standards"), I doubt
> if very many W3C members care very much that its Recommendations reference
> other quasi-standards such as Java.

What is at issue here is not what the W3C members care.  The W3C poses as
an organization that proposes standards (this business of skulking around
the term "recommendations" is just a smoke-screen) for Web-based data
processing.  The issue is what the overall consumers of W3C diktat care
about the consortium's work-product.

If the consumers decide (as it becomes easier to all the time) that the
W3C is just an exercise in confused fiefdoms, the W3C will cease to be

> While I'm sure that many would prefer
> that Sun donate it to ECMA or the ISO, Java is definitely part of the Web
> infrastructure and failing to support it on legalistic grounds would not
> provide any benefit to the W3C membership or their customers.

Perl, C, C++, VBScript, PHP3, Python,... are also "definitely part of
the Web infrastructure".  Do you dispute that?  Does the W3C?

Uche Ogbuji                               Principal Consultant
uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com               +1 303 583 9900 x 101
Fourthought, Inc.                         http://Fourthought.com
4735 East Walnut St, Ste. C, Boulder, CO 80301-2537, USA
Software-engineering, knowledge-management, XML, CORBA, Linux, Python