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Re: ZDNet Schema article, and hiding complexity within user-friendlyproducts

                    Michael Champion                                                                                          
                    <mike.champion@softwarea        To:     xml-dev <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>                                   
                    g-usa.com>                      cc:                                                                       
                                                    Subject:     ZDNet Schema article, and hiding complexity within           
                    04/23/01 02:05 PM               user-friendly products                                                    


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
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
(and/or IBM, or Extensibility, or whoever) makes nice and easy to use
tools that do what I want, why should I care about the underlying
of the code they produce?

     Because you're dealing with a different kind of user. I don't need to
know the CCITT spec to send a fax because I'm an "end-user". But if I were
designing firmware for fax machines I certainly would need to know much
about it. XML Schema developers aren't end-users, they're developers. And
when this comes up (or I choose to pay attention to the thread :-), I'm
always tempted to just say stop crying and do your job! But more on that

     <rant>As far as Microsoft is concerned, I've personnaly always felt
that this is where they miss the point. The friendly interface stuff works
great for "I want to be stupid" end-users, but developers typically just
get annoyed by a lack of full, uncompromising control.</rant>


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
its "power" (aka "complexity") too great to fully encapsulate inside a
friendly interface?

     The W3C couldn't win with XML Schema. There were to many requirements
placed on it. It seems right that there should have been one spec for
document publishers, one for database designers, one for Web apps, one for
messaging, etc., etc., etc. But if that approach had been taken, the chants
of "we must have a single unified specification" would have been heard as
loudly as the current "overcomplicated" roar. However, I do sympathize with
the development community. What we have now loses from most everyone's
perspective. Maybe a modular approach would have worked better here, with a
base schema spec for common, reusable structures/datatypes and some
"extras" modules to support the various more vertical requirements.

     For my money, as it stands now I'd bet most folks will use the basics
they need and ignore the more arcane features until absolutely necessary.
80/20 will win with users (read "developers" in this case) in spite of the
designers best efforts. Unfortunately, that leaves the developers of schema
creation/editing/management tools with the dirty work. But c'est la vie.

Michael A. Rossi
Computer Sciences Corporation
856-983-4400 x4911