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   What is a rational user to do? (was RE: [xml-dev] xsd validation)

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10/4/2002 10:38:29 AM, "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com> wrote:

>It illuminates that we are content to argue about 
>things that are obvious given a technology.
>They believe what they are fed.  Feed them the 
>nonsense that well-formedness is all that is 
>needed 24x7x365 for any case and they will 
>quickly reinvent DTDs. 

I'm not trolling, or flaming, or asking a rhetorical 
question to setup my canned response.  I very much respect
the fact that Len and others have vastly more Real World
experience dealing with XML/SGML customers than I do: 

What is a poor bureaucrat (corporate, governmental, or otherwise)
supposed to do?  You get the GAO saying that XML should
not be widely deployed until (IMHO insuperable) human
problems of information standardization are solved. 
On the other hand, there are lots of *mechanical* problems
of information integration (incompatible binary formats,
protocol non-interoperability, systems with no external
APIs) that XML and web services seem to be able of
addressing even without authoritative schema standards.

How can rational people leverage XML's benefits without
waiting for Godot to arrive with the Official Inter-Office
Information Exchange schema in hand?  Y'all snickered 
when I suggested that public agencies were any more rational
about resolving minor differences in data format specs than
the RSS factions are, so I presume that "do something sensible
to get local agreements and let the global standards bodies
fight" is not a viable option ... or is that wrong?

I lean toward a synthesis of the positions that John Cowan
and Walter Perry were taking earlier in this non-silly
thread: Tell your information suppliers what format
you would really and truly prefer them to communicate to
you in, but be prepared to "mine" whatever they send you
to extract the information that *you* need to do *your* job.
Schema validation can be a useful part of that mining 
operation (sortof like assaying the purity of the ore), but
can't be the formal contract between producers and consumers,
for purely human reasons.


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