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   Re: [xml-dev] Getting specs/standards right (was UPA and schema handling

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On Mon, Oct 18, 2004 at 08:54:34AM -0400, Michael Champion wrote:
> But Schema is something designed by a committee that reflects their
> collective best guess, it doesn't embody the kinds of real science and
> engineering experience that went into the ISO standards for electrical
> transmission equipment.

I think it would be unfair to say that electrical specifications are
never influenced by politics, nor that committees are never involved.
Note also that SGML and ODA both came out of ISO, as for that matter did
ISO networking, which had vastly more features than anyone knew how to
implement at the time.

> I can live with either, and IMHO different XML specs need different
> approaches.  I don't believe the intermediate situation that we're in
> now is viable, where somewhat loosely-written and/or unproven specs
> are treated as if they were standards by some, but as if they were
> informal recommendations by others.

It's actually not uncommon for people to interpret ISO (and other) specs
as they see fit, and try to get away with things.  On the other hand,
this is why national standards bodies such as the BSI have conformance
tests and logos such as the "BSI Kitemark" seal of approval that
manufacturers can place on approved devices.

This does not ensure complete conformance, as a device at one end of
tolerance might not connect well with one at the other end, given the
further tolerances of the manufacturing process.  But it's about as good
as we (they) can get.  It's pretty rare I've bought an electrical
plug that didn't fit into the corresponding socket, although it has
happened to me maybe two or three times.

I'd like to see some form of conformance testing for XML software.

I don't think it's something W3C has the resouces to do right now,
and I'm reluctant to consider making it something expensive, since
that could rule out many open source initiatives and also penalise
small companies.

I remember when getting a new brand of modem certified in the UK used
to cost anywhere up to £100,000  - it was difficult for small firms
to break into the market at times.


Liam Quin, W3C XML Activity Lead, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/


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