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At 10:14 PM 7/7/2002 -0400, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
>At 03:43 PM 7/6/2002 -0400, Thomas B. Passin wrote:
>>I'd like to suggest a different take on why there may have been such a hue
>>and cry about XQuery/Xpath2/XML Schema. I think it has a lot of explanatory
>>power. See what you all think.
>>Up until recently, most experienced XML practitioners probably felt that
>>they could write any part of the XML processing chain themselves if they had
>>to or wanted to. Anyone could write a parser (I'm not necessarily talking
>>fact here, but perception), and most people probably though they could write
>>an XPath processor if put to it. XSLT would be harder, but still one or a
>>small group could picture themselves doing it. We have Saxon from Mike Kay,
>>for example, and 4xslt from Uche's gang.
>>Going along with this, if you needed, say, XPath for Ruby or Curl, you could
>>imagine writing it if no one else got around to doing it. In this lies a
>>great sense of freedom. You could do it yourself, and especially you could
>>do it without needing the products of big companies.
As soon as you need a programming language, this starts to fall down. I
wouldn't want to write my own Java and JVM, or my own C++ compiler. I could
imagine doing it myself, given infinite time, but my imagination sometimes
>>Now comes XML Schema. This does not look like a one-person project (Yes, I
>>know, XSV - I said it was about perception). This is a big deal, if you
>>could even understand the Rec well enough. And to most people it probably
>>does not seem like an interesting job, either. To mix XML Schema into XPath
>>for XPath2 also seems like a great burden. XQuery seems too much to tackle,
>>too. SOAP toolkits - they are coming out of much bigger efforts.
I agree that XQuery is beyond the ability of most programmers to implement
by themselves. One estimate I heard recently was that it takes 6 *very*
good people about 6 months. But how long would it take most people to write
compilers or interpreters for other programming languages or query languages?
I don't think that a query processor is as simple to write as an XML
parser. That doesn't mean that queries are bad.
>>If this is close to the mark, the resentment and fear comes from a perceived
>>withdrawal of the previous freedom. Any unclear or complex feature of, say,
>>XML Schema, will tend to trigger the reaction. So no amount of explanation
>>about any one issue can settle anything, which seems to be what we are
>>seeing here. The threads just keep circling around and repeating the same
>That's a reasonable explanation of the fear and loathing that the W3C XML
>Schema specification and its relatives generate in those of us without the
>resources to deal with it as easily as we have dealt with XML 1.0.
Yes, I agree that this is a good explanation for the fear. Yet, I don't
think this fear is well placed. Programming languages and query languages
are very helpful, even if they are not easily implemented by the average