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RE: Bad News on IE6 XML Support
- From: "Champion, Mike" <Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com>
- To: email@example.com
- Date: Sat, 08 Sep 2001 08:37:00 -0400
This has been quite an illuminating discussion! I have a couple of
First, my canonical rant: a "standard" that nobody supports isn't a
standard. If standards bodies put their imprimatur on best practices that do
work rather than on best guesses about what should work, we wouldn't be
having this discussion.
Second ... BUT the reason this rather odd practice by the IETF and W3C
evolved was to try to cope with "internet time" and avoid a reply of the
browser wars. As Christopher Maden put it so well:
> This is quite ironic. The well-formedness fatal error
> provisions are in the XML Recommendation at the explicit
> request of the Microsoft and
> Netscape representatives, to prevent precisely this situation.
In other words, people remember what it's like to live in the period where
best practice is being shaken out, and it's not fun. Having committees
design rather than the Invisible Hand decide the boring details of things
like MIME types should make it easier for everyone to figure out how to
write interoperable software and web pages -- they just look at the spec,
they don't have to reverse-engineer all the diverse existing practices.
Likewise, the draconian error handling in XML is put there to MAKE users
care about the standards even though they don't want to.... in the name of
the common good, to provide cover to Microsoft et al. when faced with the
dilemma "if we implement the standard, we'll break our customers' web
pages." I've learned from W3C work that making some nasty requirement an
option SEEMS like a good thing to do, but in reality just adds complexity
that the rest of the world must expensively cope with somehow.
Third, Microsoft could save themselves a lot of trouble and ill-will by just
playing the game by the rules they helped make. Some of the attitude I see
reflected here reminds me of the old Randy Newman song "Political Science":
No one likes us-I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens
We give them money-but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us-so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them
If you want people to trust that you're committed to the standards,
and not just waiting for an opportunity to "drop the big one", then
implement the standards, even though they may inconvenience some people. If
you want more and more people to believe that MS uses XML, SOAP, Kerberos
(ahem!) and other standards merely as viruses with which to spread
proprietary technology, just keep doing what you're doing ...
[obligatory disclaimer ... my personal opinion and all that]