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XPath conformance? was RE: [xml-dev] storing XML files

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chris Parkerson [mailto:chrisp@exceloncorp.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2001 11:10 AM
> To: 'Champion, Mike'; xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: RE: [xml-dev] storing XML files
> At least we admit it's not XPath...

Well this on-topic for XML-DEV: what standards really are, what they should
be, and whether we can agree on what "is" is. <grin>

First, I don't have detailed information on any comparisons of XML DBMS's
XPath conformance.  Pointers would be appreciated ...and polite requests to
take this discussion to xmldb@xmldb.org would be heeded!  

I'd submit that a processor that executes legal XPath expressions "is" an
XPath processor, whatever it's called, and whatever superset of XPath syntax
it also supports. To assert otherwise would put us on the path to saying
that SQL is not "really" supported by any of the RDBMS vendors because
they've all extended it.  At the far end of that path are the purists who
assert that nobody has ever really implemented a relational DBMS!  

I [speaking for myself, not my long-suffering employer, blah blah] would
also submit that it is the DUTY of vendors in a fast-moving technology field
to attempt to get real-world experience with desireable features (such as
the ability to do full-text searching within XML elements) before proposing
them for standardization.  Standards are best when based on the intersection
of field-tested technologies rather than the union of plausible
technologies. &myusualrant; 

"Embrace and extend" got a bad name because a certain large company was
accused of trying to addict its customers to extensions that were simply
different or more convenient ways of doing what could be done perfectly well
within the standards.  Offering customer-demanded extensions to fill obvious
gaps in the standards is another thing entirely, ESPECIALLY if that
knowledge is fed back to the standards keepers.  This is exactly what
Software AG has done with XQL / XPath / X-Query / XQuery over the last few