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ZDNet Schema article, and hiding complexity within user-friendlyproducts
- From: Michael Champion <email@example.com>
- To: xml-dev <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 14:05:54 -0400
More musings stimulated by the article at
I was struck by this juxtaposition of quotes:
"The main problem I have with it is it's too complicated," said James Clark
"It's fine if you're a huge company like Microsoft ... They can just add
"The reality is Schema is actually trying to solve a very hard problem,"
said David Turner, senior program manager for Microsoft, adding that XML
tools will shield users from its complexity.
My first thought was, "Yup, Microsoft confirms what James Clark (and
numerous others) have been saying ... it's too complex for humans, so you
have to buy MS software to make it usable! ^%$#&'s!!!!" Then I saw a
posting on the XHTML-L (the source of the "quote of the day" on Cafe con
Leche): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/XHTML-L/message/2119 Ian Tindale was
discussing the semantic web, but the same logic might apply to any complex
spec: "It's like using CCITT TIFF files for sending faxes - that's how faxes
are sent, but who cares or even knows that it's a 200dpi single field TIFF
file, once the spec is implemented, nobody need know."
Now I'm not so sure what I think about the positions of Clark and Turner.
On one hand, I just want to put the document in the fax machine, dial the
number, press the button, and be done with it. I don't CARE how complex the
CCITT spec is as long as fax machines interoperate. (Putting my XML user,
as opposed to implementor, hat on) Why not the same with XML Schemas? If MS
(and/or IBM, or Extensibility, or whoever) makes nice and easy to use schema
tools that do what I want, why should I care about the underlying complexity
of the code they produce?
On the other hand, fax interoperability is a given; schema interoperability
is yet to be proven in practice. I'd accept David Turner's argument more
readily if I could see the tools interoperating today. Also, I've never
looked at the CCITT fax specs, but something tells me that they MUST be a
lot simpler (or at least more rigorously defined, so simpler to implement)
than XML Schema.
Anyone want to pick up the thread ... is something like W3C XML Schema a
"good thing" after all if it can be wrapped up in user-friendly tools? Or is
its "power" (aka "complexity") too great to fully encapsulate inside a