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RE: XML Blueberry


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tim Bray [
> Sent: Friday, June 22, 2001 2:03 AM
> To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: Re: XML Blueberry
> This Blueberry issue is not a slam-dunk either way, it's
> a genuinely hard issue.  Actually it's several genuinely
> hard issues in an unattractive package, namely:
>  - the NEL character as a line separator
>  - the proper relationship to Unicode
>  - how to version XML

This was a great summary of the dilemmas here, and
I agree with almost all of it. I would tip the verdict
very slightly the other way, in favor of an XML revision,
because I see one point differently from Tim:

> To cast it in the starkest possible light: Is it a
> reasonable trade-off to say that we will live with
> an incorrect interpretation of Unicode in certain specific
> areas, with the consequences of complicating the lives of
> mainframe users and impoverishing the tools available to
> worthy users of certain minority languages, to achieve
> the benefit of keeping XML monolithic and unitary?  Yes,
> it's reasonable. 

Is XML really "monolithic and unitary"? I'm pretty sure that Tim
and I have been around on this before, but it seems to me that "XML"
is actually more fragmented than monolithic: The 1.0 spec, of course, distinguishes "validating" and "non-validating" parsers.  A closer reading shows that non-validating parsers may or may not do anything useful with some things like external parsed entities, so we have another axis of cleavage.  Then we have namespace-aware vs non-namespace-aware processors, and ancillary specs that provide their own "spin" to namespaces (DOM L2 treats prefixes as "syntax sugar"; Canonical XML and XPath/XSLT treat them as significant).  Now we have schema-aware vs non-schema-aware processors; XInclude and XLink support/non-support will make life even more interesting when they become Recommendations. 

On top of all this, we have significant practical issues with conformance, e.g. the recent discussion in the thread starting at http://lists.xml.org/archives/xml-dev/200106/msg00616.html on the handling of parameter entities by different tools, and the less than perfect performance on the OASIS test suite by most parsers (see http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2000/05/10/conformance/conformance.html).

So, as a purely pragmatic matter, I'm not at all convinced that the Blueberry requirements would detract significantly from the objective of keeping XML "monolithic and unitary".