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   RE: [xml-dev] XPath 1.5? (was RE: [xml-dev] typing and markup)

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On Tue, 2002-05-07 at 09:42, Michael Kay wrote:
> As you know, Jeni, I would personally have preferred to bite off a smaller
> problem for the current XPath round. But the time for that was at the
> requirements phase, and it's very hard to change course now, when we appear
> at last to be making progress towards the goal. Someone is going to have to
> do some serious lobbying to get a change in the objectives, it isn't going
> to happen as a result of grumbling on this list.

No, the W3C is not going to change its objectives as a result of
grumbling on this list, unless those grumbling are W3C members with a
lot of clout.

However, that doesn't mean that XPath 1.5 or something like it is
impossible, or even that the committee's work is irrelevant to those of
us who disgree with some of its objectives.  

It seems clear that there is useful functionality in XPath 2.0 that does
not require the strong typing approach.  Some of this functionality is
already available in extensions (EXSLT, for instance), but some of it is
new.  Merely reading the draft in its current form is a pretty difficult
task, but that may be something that can be helped.

How about working on a "type-free guide to XPath 2.0" as a first step?

Rather than creating another specification while XPath 2.0 is still in
flux, the guide could point developers to the parts of XPath 2.0 that
aren't deeply bonded to strong typing, perhaps with some gray area
indicated for cases that aren't completely clear.

This could be something the WG itself could contribute to, depending on
how friendly it was feeling to such an effort.  Users and implementors
of XPath could explore XPath 2.0 through the guide with less concern
over grasping the entire specification, and use it as a basis for
integrating their work with new XPath features.  Done right, it could
serve as a nice transition piece between 1.0 and 2.0 as well.

A few readers might even be dazzled by the full glory of XPath 2.0, if
such a thing is possible.

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!


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