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> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 12:46:14 +0100
> Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Minimal XML Specification
> The metaphor is misused IMO: XML in general (and WXS in particular) was
> becoming a monkey with three arms and some people were trying to avoid
I agre with Eric's recollection - the minimalism ranting was a *reaction* to the obvious inevitability of W3C XSD by early 2000 or so. Also remember that the minimalist ranting was as much a reaction to the nasty innards of XML itself as to the XSD drafts. I know my Day Job life today is made just as miserable by DTDs as XSD, but it was way too late to do anything about XML in late 1999 - early 2000.
The W3C was on a roll when the minimalism debate was in full flower, and there was a widespread belief that the success of HTML, XML, XPath/XSLT, DOM, etc. was due to the W3C's mojo rather than the fact (in hindsight anyway) that it was due to exploiting the intellectual capital of quite a few years of experience with SGML, DSSSL, SGML and HTML product APIs, etc. People expected W3C XSD to be a success despite its numerous rough edges because rough edges hadn't stopped the others. Those were the bubble years, and the irrational exuberance wasn't confined to the business side of things.
Maybe it wasn't the W3C's mojo that people were in awe of, but rather of the combined momentum of the Web industry. I remember my internal arguments at my then-employer that we should at least symbolically lie down in the road in front of the XSD steamroller, arguing that we would look like prophets when the thing broke down. The pushback IIRC was that we would look like fools in the short run because everyone else was riding the steamroller, and its momentum would overcome the flaws in the long run. That has probably happened to a large extent; although we *still* have interop problems due to oddities and ambiguities in the XSD spec, they are now mostly in the extremely dusty corners. For example, see the recent thread on the distinction between abstract elements and abstract types http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/xmlschema-dev/2006Jan/0028.html
In the long run, I was probably wrong and the momentum argument seems to have been correct -- the fear of re-living the experience of trying to figure out whether one schema language can rule documents, data, and databinding (and fragmenting when the difficulty of this becomes even more obvious) keeps most of us from thinking too hard about what could have been had the XSD spec been successfully derailed 5-6 years ago.
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