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RE: is that a fork in the road?

Sitting listening to Henry's speech as I write.

"XML trajectory and SGML trajectory as ... 
affected by slowness of getting style sheet 
language out"...

I wonder how long that trajectory would have 
been if:

1.  XSLT had not been primarly a means to 
downtranslate to HTML (something OmniMark 
already did well and a bit better); that is, 
a common existing renderer made XSLT a slam 
dunk compared to DSSSL.

2.  XSLT had not been designed and overviewed 
by many of the same people who took the decade 
long march on DSSSL.  That is, it is easy to 
walk on water when you know where the stumps are.

At some point, the self-congratulating, "look at 
what we have done" aggrandizing of XML has to 
be  seen for what it is:  cheerleading to a 
very old and very done deal by the time "we" 
got here to carry a ball the last six inches 
across the goal line.

Now, the deal is this:  XML got complicated because 
the problem scope is hard as hell and expanding.  "We" are trying 
to bridge systems worldwide and make that all *look* 
homogeneous.  Now you have to define things that 
the previous decade's players left aside because 
their focus was NOT worldwide hypermedia.  Now you 
have to agree on the much harder bits. 

If you aren't up to the challenge, take the fork 
out of the road, put it in the cake, and call 
it done.  Then some group is going to make another 
cake and have at.  They have to.  Real requirements 
for interoperability, portability and now eXstensbility 
are the new goal.  This goal was known long ago; 
CALS defined it.  It was considered unattainable 
then, so people backed off and well... HTML, XSLT, XML 
and so forth.

"Abstraction abstraction abstraction" and "Location 
location location" have been the problems since 
SGML was a draft, they are the problems now, and 
we solve them by punting them away or facing them 
head on.  You have to decide what you want to do. 

I heartily suggest that people start discussing 
the differences between the plumbing and the 
refrigerator and decide what level they want to 
work at.  We will NEVER see a grand unified 
seamless net unless we straitjacket every 
innovative designer on the planet.  It won't 
happen.  Kick that one away.  It IS unattainable 
because once attained, it becomes unendurable 
or unsustainable.  All Systems Leak. Pipelines too.

You can agree to share parts of your 
solutions, you can agree to processes that 
enable you to choose among these, but you cannot
arbitrarily stand in front of the innovative 
programmers and tell them not to use the solutions
they design or think they have invented.  

Decide what you care about.  Is it the infoSet, 
or is it the syntax?  Is it the semantic or is 
the language for expressing a semantic?  What 
is substance?  You have to decide but the decision 
you make will be yours;  join a community based 
on the requirements you share, or go it alone. 
Your choice.  Choose wisely.

Simple means if possible.  No simpler than possible. 
Berners-Lee got the first part right and  
the second one wrong, but he made the discourse 
worldwide and immediate.  You have to work your way 
among the abstractions and carry back to your customer 
the right ones.  The target moves because we are 

So to return to Henry's speech and inquire into 
"what an XML document is":  pick a simple near 
target and you get a simple short trajectory. 
Pick one previously bombed and you get maximum 

Pick one far away and hard to hit, and you get 
to wait until you over fifty to see the first 

Me, I'm already home.  The cake is good.  
So far, we are eating our own cooking just fine. 
The next course will be a lot less tasty if we 
are already full or our appetites are timid. 
Take a break between courses and let the cooks 
know that is what you are doing.  Otherwise, 
they bring you food as fast as a Sorceror's 
Apprentice brings water.

Infoset pipelines look good from here.  One will 
want to know where to put the tap to get the water.


Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti.
Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h

-----Original Message-----
From: Eric van der Vlist [mailto:vdv@dyomedea.com]

I think that the main issue is that both the perimeter of "XML" as a
whole and the XML community is expending very fast.

It's easy for a small number of people to agree on a very focussed

It's more difficult when you increase the number of people or the
perimeter of the spec and with XML we are seeing a growth on both axes

The only way I believe this can be dealt with is through a real
modularization of the specs.

Otherwise, I think you are right, a fork is very likely to happen later
or sooner...