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re: The relentless march of abstraction

Dave Winer writes:

 > 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 ...

Unless this is a deliberate non-sequitur, the article must have
misrepresented the Infoset pretty horribly.  The Infoset is just a
minimum common data model that other XML-based specs can count on
having available from applications (i.e. every spec can count on
information about elements and attributes being available).  Of
course, it came along after the fact, so much of its work was actually
rationalizing stuff that was already out there, but Infoset is in no
way a schema spec.

I agree that schemas of all kinds are far, far overrated.  They're
useful as authoring templates and for pre-release Q.A., but otherwise
they give a false sense of security, like air bags (at best) and introduce
enormous performance and security problems (at worst).

 > I know I irritate the powerful people

Who are these powerful people?  Most of the members of this list don't
have the power to fire anyone else on the list or to make anyone else
on the list rich.  Tim Berners-Lee has the power to veto W3C specs,
for whatever that's worth, and Tim Bray has the power to make the
foolish wither and dry up under his occasional irony, but that's about
as far as anyone can go.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david@megginson.com