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   Re: [xml-dev] IBM's idea off an XML expert

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On Sun,  5 Jan 2003 10:09:35 -0500, Simon St.Laurent 
<simonstl@simonstl.com> wrote:

> I suspect more emphasis on educating people in the first place would be
> a more productive use of time than working on certification of any form.

FWIW, I suspect that we need time (measured in years) to figure out which 
parts of the XML corpus are worth educating people about (and certifying 
the status of their education) before we worry too much about this.  There 
are thousands of pages of "XML" specs in various states of Recomendation- 
ness. Which are worth knowing, if you are a software developer not directly 
involved in the XML racket?  I don't think we have a clue, beyond the hard 
core of XML and probably XPath/XSLT.  And the subset worth knowing depends 
on what you are planning to do with the XML.  Rick's example of cacheing 
parameter entities has a lot of relevance in that corner of the XML world  
where big DTDs are relevant, but obviously not to the corner of the world 
based on SOAP.  Conversely, most of the raw bulk of the XQuery spec 
describes the type system, but can be safely skimmed over by those in the 
document world where almost everything is a String (or some type that can't 
be fully described in XSDL).

Not to mention the uncertain status of various specs.  Should Certified 
(Certifiable?) XML Professionals be expected to know RELAX NG as well as 
the minutiae of W3C XSDL?  SQL-XML as well as XQuery? It would be hard to 
specify "objective" criteria ... e.g. SAX has no formal status as a 
"standard" but is obviously something that any programmer working with XML 
should have some familiarity with.  There are W3C Recommendations (XLink 
comes to mind, <duck>) that could be ignored on a certification exam 
without doing much damage to the world's productivity.... Even Microsoft's 
blessing of XSDL as the One True Schema Standard could be rendered moot 
(for the purposes of the discusssion here) if some little Office plugin 
that lets the user write their schemas in RELAX NG and converts them to 
XSDL becomes widely used to make "XML" palatable to end users. We shall 
just have to wait and see.

I'm happy to let evolution take its course ... if knowledgeable software 
developers can (as I expect they can) learn all that they really, really 
need to know about XML in a few hours and pick up the other useful bits as 
the need arises, so be it.  I think most people learn the bare bones of 
SQL, HTML, and other really really successful software technologies in a 
few hours and then spend the rest of their careers plucking additional 
nuggets out of the stream as required.  That leads to a lot of bad 
databases, webpages .... and XML systems, but Father Darwin provides a nice 
elegant solution to that problem :-)  And if the "bad" stuff doesn't 
graciously die out, maybe something about it wasn't so bad after all.


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