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RE: Bad News on IE6 XML Support
- From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <email@example.com>
- To: Benjamin Franz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 14:52:14 -0500
You give them too much credit for power or persuasion.
As an MSThrall, and veteran of years of different systems
back to the IBM1130, if a vendor were to tell us they
have a bug that will force us to redo some large quantity
of data to be forwards-compliant with a standard, we are
likely to do a cost-benefit analysis and if we find out
the impact is minimal or not catastrophic, we will
delay installing any new software until it is cost-effective.
We definitely will slow down our incorporation of bleeding
edge tech until the churning stops. Blueberry is an
excellent example of that.
Software vendors of all stripes have had to become
"mean and evil" to force customers off old platforms. :-)
It is wrong-headed to assume that just because one
uses web technology, that all the data is "on the web"
or that it will become everyone's problem. Those that
pushed for the Draconian solution to the HTML mess
were warned that software developers faced with
customers with large volumes of tagged errors would
prefer to keep working rather than face a screen
that said "Nope! Not Our Idea of Right!". I can't
recall any time when the developers did not code
for user mistakes, migrating standards or mismatched
That said: he is right about not always being
able to catch this stuff. The guys who develop
IE are just like us: opinionated and busy.
That doesn't mean they shouldn't be beaten with
old dot.com stock certificates. Recycle paper.
Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti.
Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h
From: Benjamin Franz [mailto:email@example.com]
> However, data outlives code, so once you allow people to store data in a
> certain form, you simply cannot disallow them. Warning is an option, and
> providing transition periods (that can range several years/decades).
> This does not move in internet time, I am afraid...
Yes, you can. You may not _want_ to do so. It may be politicaly
inconvienent do so. But without question - you can.
Sometimes you have to take the hit on the chin and say to your customers
"This is a bug. We know you may have stored data in form X (and here is a
tool to help _filter_ the problematic data for you before you deliver it
to a client if you absolutely cannot repair your database), but it has to
be changed because that behavior was a bug and your XML _will not_
interoperate with other people if it is not fixed now. And the more data
you store like this the worse it will get."
"Bugwards" compatibilty is precisely why HTML ended up in the mess it was
in a couple of years ago (and still is in to a large extent). Each new
browser had to exactly replicate the _known to be wrong_ behavior of the
previous one. Because rather than fix the problem when there were only a
few _thousand_ web browsers installed, it was left to fester until their
were _tens of millions_ installed.
That is why you bite the bullet _as early as you can_. Because it only
gets worse with time to fester. Trying to save your customers immediate
pain by _continuing_ to do the wrong thing makes the situation worse on
the long term as their pain becomes everyone _else's_ pain for years to