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The relentless march of abstraction

There's another article you should all read to go along with the ZDNet
article, which is right on imho.


Just the first few paragraphs opened my eyes to where the process is going
with XML. I never understood what "infoset" was all about. Now that I do, I
don't get why the W3C has to get involved in it at all. I've always felt
that schema are only needed if you're storing XML content in a relational
database, but so many applications don't require a relational approach, in
fact I'd argue that there's nothing about XML that requires a relational db,
but of course that's what "most people" use, so put the burden on XML, well
I don't buy it. If it's not needed and it adds complexity let's us an
approach that doesn't require it.

RISC computing was right, now what we need is RISX, for "Reduced Instruction
Iet XML". Of course no one will know how to pronounce RISX, so find another

I know I irritate the powerful people, who does he think he is, but I think
it's irresponsible to spend so much time architecting without seeking
grounding. I believe, but have rarely said, that what the process is
yielding is more like what the pre-Web computer industry generated than it's
like the Web. There will be adoption where it's as easy and forgiving as
HTML was in 1994. That's why RSS worked, and why XML-RPC worked, and why
some other formats and protocols are only slowly achieving interop and

The best thing for all you the people working on infosets and schema is to
find a librarian, buy him lunch, and show him one of your files. If it makes
sense to him, go ahead. If not, back to the drawing board.

The relentless march to abstraction is good for keeping standards wonks
employed, but it doesn't do bupkis for interop and level playing fields and
progress towards new Pleasure Buttons For The People. (Which is why HTML was
such a breath of fresh air and so successful.)

My two cents and thanks for listening. (See the sig.) ;->


Dave Winer, UserLand Software
Daily notes: http://www.scripting.com/
"It's even worse than it appears."