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XML is primarily a data interchange format NOT a programming language. Thus it
is unwise to make comparisons between XML and Java or Perl.
Also, most data transfer protocols include version information at the
beginning of the message so I don't see why XML should be any different.
THINGS TO DO IF I BECOME AN EVIL OVERLORD #132
Before appointing someone as my trusted lieutenant, I will conduct a thorough
background investigation and security clearance.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rob Lugt" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2002 2:58 AM
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] WD for Namespaces 1.1
> Gustaf Liljegren wrote:
> > ... We were
> > many who disliked the first mentioning of XML 1.1, not so much for the new
> > version number, but for the fact that so tiny changes was taken to justify
> > a new version.
> My first reaction is that I share the opinion of Gustaf and Mike Kay (among
> others) who feel that XML 1.1 will only be worthwhile if it addresses more
> of the known issues with XML 1.0. However, I've come to the conclusion that
> this is inconsistent with the way that we all normally go about our
> business. In software engineering, the perceived wisdom is to perform small
> incremental changes, thereby reducing the overall risk of getting it wrong.
> Why should the evolution of XML be any different? I have a little theory
> for how this inconsistency came about.
> <going long (sorry)>
> It all started with the XML 1.0 declaration <?XML version="1.0"?>. This
> signal, from the document to the XML processor, indicating what version of
> the spec it adheres to, is the root of the problem.
> I think it would be better if the XML processor worked out for itself
> whether a document conforms - and the user of the document should indicate
> to the processor what level of conformance he requires or expects. This is,
> after all, just how we organize our program source code. We would have
> similar problems in programming if we used such mechanisms to signal source
> code compatibility. Imagine if Perl scripts like this:-
> or Java source code started with something like "using Java 1.0". The
> result would be a strong reluctance to change, even if it was
> Programming languages are continually being refined. We, the users, are
> generally pleased when the compiler vendor releases incremental changes (so
> long as they are backwards compatible). We don't care if the changes mean
> that a program that didn't compile last week starts to compile now, in fact
> we are generally rather pleased! There is a corollary here to the XML 1.1
> character issues: existing well-formed documents will continue to be
> well-formed and some badly formed documents under XML 1.0 will no longer be
> so. If there are changes required to XML that are not backwards compatible
> (namespaces), then it should be up to the document recipient to signal to
> the processor what kind of documents she will accept.
> Another problematic area where XML documents signal their content to the XML
> processor is the DTD declaration. This problem has been recognised with XML
> Schemas, moving the responsibility to the receiver of the document to decide
> what schema the document should conform to. I think this is another facet
> of the same issue.
> If we get rid of the XML declaration, we avoid a problem noted by Elliotte
> Rusty Harold some time ago during the blueberry debate, whereby document
> editors will feel inclined to mark their documents with the latest version,
> whether or not they contain mark-up features requiring that version. It
> also avoids an associated problem of knowing in advance what document
> version you are going to create in a streaming environment.
> Get rid of the XML declaration and we can all be a lot more relaxed about
> making small, incremental changes to the XML specifications. Does anyone
> agree, or should I get my flame-proof underwear on?
> Kind regards
> Rob Lugt
> ElCel Technology
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