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   Re: [xml-dev] The triples datamodel -- was Re: [xml-dev] Semantic Web p

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At 6:41 AM -0700 6/6/04, Robert Koberg wrote:

>Baloney. You can simply modify the schema. That way all members of 
>the team use the same convention, from authors to template creators 
>to developers.

Again another unexamined assumption that's critical to the issue at 
hand. You and I (and a thousand other developers) are *not* on the 
same team. Yet we need to communicate anyway. Rigid fixed schemas may 
well work for a group of ten developers, especially if they're all on 
the same team in the same organization, doing essentially the same 
thing with the data.

But rigid fixed schemas fail when we're talking about thousands or 
tens of thousands or even millions of disconnected developers who do 
not have prior agreements, who do not know each other, and who are 
doing very different things with the same data. This is the world of 
the Internet. This is the world I work in. This is the world more and 
more developers are working in more and more of the time, and the old 
practices that worked in small, closed systems behind the firewall 
are failing. It's time to learn how to design systems that are 
flexible and loosely coupled enough to work in this new environment. 
XML is a critical component in making this work. Maybe RDF is too, 
though I'm still not convinced (to bring this thread back on topic.) 
Schemas really aren't. At best schemas are a useful diagnostic tool 
for deciding what kind of document you've got so you can dispatch it 
to the appropriate local process. At worst, however, schemas 
encourage a mindset and assumptions that are actively harmful when 
trying to produce scalable, robust, interoperable systems.

   Elliotte Rusty Harold
   Effective XML (Addison-Wesley, 2003)


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