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   RE: [xml-dev] WSIO and Good is Better

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2/7/2002 12:15:29 PM, "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com> wrote:

>The telling part is the "commitment to an aggressive schedule".
>My guess:  they are terrified of the fragmentation over XML Schemas, the 
>slow pace of the W3C at this time, and the centrality of the 

I suspect that's true. The W3C was favored by the movers and shakers as a 
place to hammer out modus vivendi in the days when HTML and DOM 
interoperability was the critical issue.  For various reasons, the W3C is 
no longer a useful forum for "lets just make this WORK" discussions.  As 
the debates over W3C XML Schema, the Semantic Web, and XQuery here (and 
the SOAP/REST discussion on xml-dist-app) have made clear, the W3C is 
focused these days on trying to Do the Right Thing and build a 
theoretically grounded foundation for the future more than a pragmatic 
accomodation for the present.  

>Meanwhile, a self-sustaining market emerges and the 
>lock-in solidifies based around a handful of workable 
>standards.  It's called "colonization".  It worked for 
>the W3C and has worked ever since.  Game as played.
>Ever wonder why the old guys used ISO?  Nation/state 
>customers.  Slow but dammed hard to derail. 

OK, WSIO is about the web services hype  purveyors needing to get some 
interoperable reality on the ground NOW rather than wait for the ISO or 
W3C to define the Right Thing.  That's dangerous in that the potential is 
there for the biggest players to ram quasi-proprietary specifcations down 
our throats and call them standards, and we'll find ourselves locked into 
them for some time to come. But the alternative isn't everyone sitting on 
their hands for 3-5 years while the Right Thing is defined, it's having 
the biggest players shove REALLY proprietary, heavy-duty nasty lock-in 
technologies down their customers throats.  These things won't 
interoperate, so we (except for the consultants) would be screwed even 
worse than we will be under the WSIO regime.

Sorry, but I do think that the essay-that-shall-not-be-named (because its 
title muddies the waters) at http://www.ai.mit.edu/docs/articles/good-
news/subsection3.2.1.html is quite instructive in this regard. Let's call 
it "Good is Better" (following voltaire's famous dictum "the best is the 
enemy of the good").  The Best would be a theoretically grounded, well-
designed, elegantly formulated, gracefully written specification for how 
web services can work.  The Good is more or less what SOAP/WSDL/UDDI is 
today with a lot of bashing to find the subsets/refinements that actually 
work together.  The problem is that hype waits for no man; expectations 
have been raised, and if the industry doesn't work together to produce a 
"good is better" solution, they will work separately to produce 
interoperability hell that makes kludgy compromises look like paradise. 
Don't like W3C HTML?  Think about a world where numerous HTML 2 
derivatives and HTML 3-esqe variants exist, with Blackbird being installed 
on every copy of Windows.  Best is Best, but Good is a *lot* better than 
that scenario.

BTW, this is not an endorsement of WSIO, just the notion that if the W3C 
isn't going to be the place to hammer out short term tactical 
arrangements, SOMTHING has to take its place ... as Simon mentions in his 
weblog, there's a fishy smell of patents in the air ...let's hope that 
WSIO's hidden agenda isn't the big patent holders taking their ball to a 
new field now that the W3C has said "no" to their preferred patent policy.


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