Lists Home |
Date Index |
- To: Sean McGrath <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com
- Subject: RE: [xml-dev] W3C's five new XQuery/Xpath2 working drafts - Still missing Updates
- From: Jonathan Robie <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 10:33:00 -0500
- In-reply-to: <email@example.com>
- References: <9A4FC925410C024792B85198DF1E97E4021BDA23@softwareag.com >
At 02:24 PM 1/2/2002 +0000, Sean McGrath wrote:
>>The larger issues that Mike Kay raises are critical: All this committee work
>>is for nothing if the result is too complex or expensive to actually use. I
>>am not all that much dumber than the average software developer, I have
>>followed the XML world full-time for 5 years now, and this
>>schema/PSVI/strongly-typed XQuery stuff makes my head spin. I can't imagine
>>what ordinary developers who don't focus on XML will think of it.
>>Actually, come to think of it, I can ... it will be C++ and the Windows API
>>all over again; few developers go anywhere near it without GUI tools and
>>wizards to hide the complexity behind a proprietary front end.
Formalisms are a helpful way to design something that is simple and
consistent. For most users, formalisms are not easy to grasp, so they are
not a good way to present a language to a user. Languages quite commonly
are designed using tools that the user is not exposed to - relatively few
users read the EBNF description of the languages they use, learn the formal
type system, or understand precisely how polymorphism is implemented. In a
well-designed language, this does not prevent them from using the syntax,
the types, polymorphism, etc based on an informal understanding.
RELAX-NG is a simple and straightforward language, but it is defined with
formalisms quite similar to those of the XML Query Formal Semantics. XML
Schema is not as simple and straightforward as RELAX-NG, and this may be
partly due to the fact that its formal semantics were defined after the
language itself - had it been done earlier, I think XML Schema would be
simpler for end users.
I think XQuery is pretty easy and straightforward for end users.
>Thus playing right into the hands of those who would make lock us in
>to their tools. As data owners, we need to fight this. When really smart
>people start talking about needing GUIs to grok what some notation really
>*means*, they are wittingly or otherwise heading down the vendor-lockin
>fork in the road.
I disagree - the formalisms ensure that the language is unambiguously
specified, which ensures interoperability.
Most programmers work perfectly well with a somewhat vague understanding of
what their languages do - adequate for programming, but not adequate for
implementing the language. I doubt very much that people will learn XQuery
by reading the Formal Semantics. The language specification itself is also
becoming more oriented toward implementors.
>I fully expect to get flamed for that statement but what the heck.
>I'm trying to grok some vendor locked in XML at the moment and consequently
>I'm not in a very good humour.
XQuery is being widely implemented - surely you are not claiming that it is
a proprietary vendor scheme? If so, which vendor are you accusing? Since
the original language, Quilt, was created by people from Software AG, IBM,
and Crossgain, I assume one or more of these companies must have hatched