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   W3C Culture and Aims (Was: What does SOAP really add?)

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In a message dated 21/04/02 21:56:09 GMT Daylight Time, simonstl@simonstl.com writes:

I'm always happy to argue, but W3C lists seem to have a common culture
of "thou shalt not question the motivations of the Working Group."
People are supposedly trying to get work done there, and I generally
find it wiser to ask rude questions like these on forums with a
fundamentally more open outlook.


I think you are touching on a fundamental question there. But the issue, at least in my opinion, goes much wider than simply a .... what shall I call it? .... a "constrictive" culture on some W3C lists.

First, let me say that it isn't uniformly "constrictive". Some lists are excellent examples of open discussion.

The W3C's TAG is a positive innovation, with publicly accessible discussion. If that is possible for TAG-related issues why isn't it possible for other WG discussions? .... Of course, I suspect that it is "possible". It's simply that it isn't wanted.

The W3C site proudly proclaims "Leading the Web to its full potential ...".

Potential for what? I have never seen that clearly expressed.

Perhaps Tom Passin's comments about .Net Studio give a hint (at least for the more paranoid amongst us). If XML-related technologies are intimidating for all but a small minority of the developer community that is an immensely powerful "lock-in" mechanism. It has the potential to do for much of the developer community what FrontPage and NetObjects Fusion did to/for some of the HTML community.

For whose benefit is the Web to reach its "full potential"? Likewise, unexpressed, to the best of my knowledge. But is "lock in" a key (but unexpressed) goal of W3C and the creators of XML? Perhaps even an unintended effect?

If the learning curve to "independently" use XML technologies is steep .... and it is, when one wants to move beyond fairly basic usage ... who will the XML spaghetti really benefit?

If the learning curve to use XML technologies in "real life" is too steep for many/most is XML authentically an "open technology"?

Andrew Watt


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