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An open plea to the W3C (was Re: XInclude vs SAX vs validation)
- From: Sean McGrath <email@example.com>
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2001 15:51:38 +0100
[Elliotte Rusty Harold]
>I'm not disagreeing that comments shouldn't have been put in the infoset.
>However, since they are in the infoset now, they are in other specs (i.e.
>XInclude) and I think APIs should be expressive enough to allow us to
>fully implement W3C specs.
Supporting all of XML 1.0 is completely laudable but there is a slippery
slope here that I think needs to be
Here is the problem:
XML is simple - apart from all the bits that are not so simple:-)
The not-so-simple bits are not used by the majority but are used
by disjoint bands of minorities.
Things need to be built on top of XML (validation, linking,
styling, uniquification of names, addressing) etc. so...
Smart people figure out to make these things support *all* of XML
1.0 including the complex, uncommon bits
With each new layer, supporting *all* of XML 1.0 creates more and
The majority, who only use the simple pieces of XML 1.0, trust
that the smart people are doing the right thing and
run with it.
Finally, the majority, bowled over by the complexity of it all,
They find it in the open arms of proprietary APIs promoted by vendors
They find it in the tools they can buy that "hide the complexity
They end up in the same proprietary mess they looked to XML to
Maybe it is not too late. The W3C could stop for breath and find out what
pieces of XML 1.0
the majority *really* use. Don't ask vendors - they are not a reliable
source of information. Don't ask
consultants, their business case is based on complexity. Don't ask
find it all easy (and even if they don't they will probably say they do as
egos like the rest of us and they are paid to be really smart).
Instead, ask XML users. Zoom in on the uncommonly used bits that cause the
for the ancillary specifications Work towards issuing new iterations of
the core specifications
that take things OUT rather than add stuff in. A bold, brave step that
W3C from all the previous tower-of-babel standards bodies.
Do it as an experiment. Do it as a controlled fork. If it does not yield
benefits, scrap it.
Dare to do less. That is what made the web so great in the first place.
Do it before vested interests grab the initiative.
Do it before it is too late.