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   RE: [xml-dev] "In hot summer have I great rejoicing/When the tempests ki

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The main point made appears to be that allowing/encouraging the use of XML
in areas where other tools might suffice should be deprecated, as it will
somehow water down XML into something that will have little value. This is
backed by the suggestion that it is being adopted by people who previously
worked with rigid design principles, who are reaping the rewards of XML's
looseness but will change it into an image of the systems they left behind.

In my last response I only wanted to suggest that at least one of the
arguments used (that CSV is just as good as XML for working with relational
& OO data) was flawed, because it failed to take into account the fact that
tools and interop are already widely in place for XML, whereas they only
exist in a narrow range for CSV. Viewing XML merely as a text processing
system can also be seen as blinkering the terms of reference, which doesn't
add much to the debate.

On to the main point above :
This seems an extraordinarily paranoid position to take. Interop and tools
are implicit in the design goals of XML, so on these terms I'm not sure what
kind of damage might be done by people looking for these characteristics.

The contrast is made between the 'byzantine' WXS and the 'more appropriate'
RELAX NG. More appropriate for whom? Like the perceived enemy here, if we
don't like a WXS then we can go off and create a RELAX NG. No need to tilt
at windmills.

The XML community shouldn't go out of its way to be accomodating? If it was
clear where the line around the community were drawn then this might make
more sense. I don't think taking such an adversarial position would do
anyone any good in any case (hey, let's change all the acronyms while
they're not looking...).

I certainly agree that it's worth being vocal when potentially problematic
things start heading towards standards. It's a different matter when things
we just don't like the look of come near. Characterising all these entities
as alien, and viewing their bearers as some kind of opposing army strikes me
as absurd. The question shouldn't be 'friend or foe?' rather 'will it break

The specific danger referred to is XML being twisted into a tightly coupled,
top-down structured system. I don't think there's much likelihood of tight
coupling being accepted as standard, simply because it wouldn't work on the
internet. I'm not sure there's any conflict between XML and top-down
structures (or anything inherently bad about them, for that matter).

I would think that building a wall around 'shoeless' XML might risk
fragmenting the standards unneccesarily, and even if it didn't, sweeping
rejections are certainly likely to lose some babies with the bathwater.
Community is one thing, exclusivity another.

At fear of being accused of bantering quiddities -

"Any technology that is pressed into being all things to all people will
soon evanesce into nothing useful for anyone."

Yep, fire and the wheel are soooo passe...


Danny Ayers
<stuff> http://www.isacat.net </stuff>

>-----Original Message-----
>From: uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com [mailto:uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com]
>Sent: 04 July 2002 08:57
>To: Derek Denny-Brown
>Cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
>Subject: [xml-dev] "In hot summer have I great rejoicing/When the
>tempests kill the earth's foul peace"
>> > -----Original Message-----
>> > From: Simon St.Laurent [mailto:simonstl@simonstl.com]
>> >
>> > XML is a wonderful set of tools for marking-up information with
>> labeled
>> > structures.
>> XML is a wonderful tool for (a) marking-up textual data and (b) interop
>> of 'data', typically serializations of either relational or object
>> structures.  I work with people using XML to great success for both
>> purposes.  Both purposes have alternate solutions, which may be better
>> in some cases, but for whatever reason XML has been chosen as the tool
>> of the day.  SOAP ensures that huge numbers of people, and mostly people
>> who would never invest the time to join xml-dev, will fall into the (b)
>> camp above.  I express no opinion on whether SOAP as XML is good or bad,
>> but it most definitely _is_.
>> Many people in the (b) camp see XML as an abstraction.  They could care
>> less about the syntax, but are looking for a tool to pass information
>> between systems such that they can leverage many existing tools to
>> process that information along the way.  The (b) camp typically involves
>> files where no human ever sees the data.  All they care about is interop
>> and tools.
>I may come off as harsh and militant, but I have no time for such
>warm and fuzzy big-tent thinking.  Any technology that is pressed
>into being all things to all people will soon evanesce into
>nothing useful for anyone.
>If people just needed interop and tools, they didn't need to
>hijack XML for the purpose.  Comma delimited files provide *all*
>the power of XML for relational and OO dumps with much fewer
>inefficiencies and much less cruft (CDATA sections, entities, etc.)
>Again, we are here talking XML, not OO or relational systems.  XML
>is a *text processing system*.  My potted theory of why XML has
>gained so much sudden prominence in such a diversity of fields is
>that a lot of the weaknesses of the super-platonic approach to
>software design (i.e. relational and OO thinking) have been
>showing of late, and developers were initially amazed at how much
>more productive they could be with loosely-coupled systems based on XML.
>It is my contention that a lot of very smart people have
>inexplicably missed the whole point of this felicity and are busy
>remaking XML into the tightly coupled, top-down structured system
>from which they were originally finding solace.  This is a very
>bad thing, and this is why people like Simon and me are happy to
>just say the OO and relational folks are laying a cuckoo's egg in
>the nest of XML.  I originally thought it was far too
>unaccommodating when Simon suggested that people you categorize as
>(b) went off, found their own data format, and left XML alone.
>I'm no longer so sure.
>Which leads us straight into the politics.  I actually come from
>the OO/relational school to XML and not the SGML old-head school.
>I understand all the market and technical pressures behind the
>effort remake XML.  I also know that as soon as the tech rags
>decide to move on to next year's topic, that these people will
>also move on, hoping to find the next Big Thing that will rescue
>software development from its current state of high cost, low
>quality misery.  If they do remake XML, then those of us who saw
>in it an opportunity to fundamentally rethink information
>processing will just end up with a mess to clean up.
>Which is why we are so vocal.  Certainly, we can't stop OO people
>from trying to hijack XML with the sorts of alien ideas that
>infest WXS and XQuery: it's a free world, and if it weren't, we'd
>be the ones to lose, anyway: traditional software development
>types have the money and glamor.  But we can fight a feisty
>rearguard action.  You drag in the byzantine WXS and we rally
>behind the more appropriate RELAX NG.  I expect XQuery will be the
>next bastion under direct attack (rather than just complaint).  We
>will put our support behind XML efforts with a right-headed
>approach such as XPath 1.0 and XSLT 1.0.  I understand you
>represent interests for whom WXS and XQuery are thought to be big
>wins.  Well, it's your prerogative to put your own support behind
>these for this reason, but I would suggest you did so clearly, and
>not try to mollify others with the idea that the XML community
>should go out of its way to accommodate all needs.  I like
>Jonathan Robie's position for this par!
>ticular clarity, even though I disagree with all the substance of
>his argument.
>Anyway, the OO camp may have the dollars and the corporate
>endorsements, but the shoeless XML gang have just as many success
>stories on the wild wild Web.  The end game is by no means clear,
>otherwise XML wouldn't be the anthill of speculation and
>prospecting that it is currently.  All we know for sure is that in
>the end, the invisible hand will sort it all out.
>Uche Ogbuji                                    Fourthought, Inc.
>http://uche.ogbuji.net    http://4Suite.org    http://fourthought.com
>Track chair, XML/Web Services One Boston: http://www.xmlconference.com/
>The many heads of XML modeling - http://adtmag.com/article.asp?id=6393
>Will XML live up to its promise? -
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