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RE: [xml-dev] 2007 Predictions

> -----Original Message-----
> From: noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com [mailto:noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com]
> Sent: Friday, January 19, 2007 7:30 PM
> To: Michael Champion
> Cc: 'XML Developers List'
> Subject: RE: [xml-dev] 2007 Predictions
> A key point is that information captured in declarative form is typically
> much easier to extract and repurpose than information encoded
> procedurally.  Get me a table of stock quotes, and I can easily and
> probably securely import it into charting tools, database, AJAX clients,
> etc.  Give me instead a Javascript program which, it is asserted, will
> produce stock quotes as output and for many purposes I'm in much worse
> shape.  ...
> These points are all made somewhat more carefully in the recent TAG
> finding titled: "The Rule of Least Power 

This finding reminds me of  the emperor in "Amadeus" telling Mozart that he
used too many notes.  If the Web really did follow the W3C's lead, the
current state-of-the-art web applications would never have been invented.
These tend to download semi-opaque blobs of Javascript which open a side
channel to the server for data, and the data tends to be JSON serialization
of internal objects more than declarative data. I can just hear Sir Tim
saying "It's quality work. There is simply too much power.  Just cut some of
that power and it will be perfect." :-)

That's not to deny that there are plenty of accessibility, security,
non-linkability, etc.  issues with AJAX (and XAML, applet, smart client,
etc.) applications, but they address lots of usability, performance, and
general clunkiness problems with the Web that cannot be denied. Portable
information, presumably encoded in XML, will hopefully be the foundation for
"Web n.0" but I don't think it is at all clear what mix of imperative and
declarative code will be used to process that information.  

So I'd reiterate my earlier assertion - there's no clear winner in sight in
the declarative - imperative controversy.  The imperative folks (e.g the C#
and VB teams at Microsoft) are adding declarative features, the declarative
folks (e.g. the XQuery working group) are adding imperative features, all
because both are needed in any general purpose system.  Although it's hard
to disagree that data resources on the web should be as declarative and
repurposeable as possible within security/confidentiality constraints, the
very notion of a *service* resource implies some action to be taken, and
hence an ultimately imperative implementation.  The "principle of least
power" doesn't seem like a very helpful guide forward now, whatever value it
might have had in describing the principles extant when TimBL drafted it in

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