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   Re: [xml-dev] XPath/XSLT 2.0 concerns

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10/1/2002 11:51:12 AM, "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com> wrote:

>Elliotte Rusty Harold notes:
>> Don't forget that DOM3 Abstract Schemas is precedent for killing a 
>> spec that is off the rails. It doesn't happen often, but it does 
>> happen.
>Did that get killed because it went off the rails, or because of lack of
>interest?  Lots of W3C projects seem to wither for lack of interest. 

The basic reason is that the DOM abstract schemas thingie really didn't
meet anyone's requirements.  The original idea was to find the intersection
of what DTDs, XSD schemas, and other schemas We assumed at the time that
the "other" would be XDR, but Microsoft seems to have been pretty diligent
at stomping that out of the world's collective mindshare.  As it turns
out, the obvious "other" would be RELAX NG).  The trouble is, nobody really
wants such an API, or at least nobody made themselves known.  We tried adding
features to try to hit the 80/20 point in W3C XSDL capabilities, but that
led to something that was too complex and ugly for the DTD and RELAX NG
users, and nowhere near adequate for the XSDL power users who really wanted
it supported in the DOM.

This is not really a precedent for XPath 2 getting major surgery, IMHO.
The DOM WG is a very different beast from the XPath/XSLST/XQuery mega-group.
There are maybe 8 people actively involved (and I'm just barely one of
them).  It's REAL easy to decide to cut things out when the alternative is
to stay up later every night.  It's hard when there are plenty of people
to appoint to Yet Another Taskforce. 

Also, folks, y'all gotta get over this quaint idea that "The W3C" is some
purposeful entity.  Look at that XHTML - XLink situation ... or the 
DOM vs XLink data models.  The different groups have very different outlooks,
e.g. the DOM (largely staffed by XML authoring vendors in its early days,
when both Arbortext and SoftQuad sent two representatives apiece) traditionally
really really cares about round-tripping syntax, and XPath has been traditionally
oriented toward read-only/throw away the syntax sugar. 

So, given the different worldviews, operating assumptions, and resource constraints,
I don't think the demise of the DOM3 Abstract Schema stuff is a precedent that
the XPath people will jump on.  I agree with Jenni's original point -- if you
don't like the complexity of this stuff, scream, yell, rasise issues, let
the  W3C (whatever that means!) know that you won't implement it, etc.   Also,
let the vendors you plan to buy XPath-enabled products from what your 
preferences are.  By default, they are going to do the safe thing and promise
to support whatever the W3C comes up with. If you don't plan to buy products
for the XPath 2 features, that might trigger some reassessments.


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