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RE: [xml-dev] Wikipedia on XML

> Even though this is the path travelled by all of the things 
> that the HTML 5 folks are now including (well, apart from 
> video: maybe instead of trying to work it out in committee, a 
> distributed mechanism would lead to a solution there as 
> well?), the working group seems to regard the idea of 
> distributed authority antipathetically (or even to be 
> forthrightly hostile to the idea). 

So long as HTML is just a document format it will always suffer this
problem: the browser is a bottleneck for innovation, and nothing happens
until you can get the owners of the browsers to agree to make it happen.
That's a profoundly undesirable state of affairs.
> (Mind you, I'm not suggesting that XML is free of "we must control" 
> attitudes; see, for instance, W3C XML Schema, in which the 
> collection of primitive types are all you get, unless you can 
> convince the Schema WG to add *your* favorite unrelated 
> primitive datatype to the collection).

XML Schema 1.1 permits vendor-defined data types, and if the vendors choose
to provide mechanisms for defining them, user-defined data types. Saxon 9.2
makes a small start with facilities that allow you to define your own
lexical representations of existing types, e.g. 1,234 for integers, on|off
for booleans, or 25/8/2009 for dates.

Of course, such things only become really useful when the mechanisms for
defining the extensions are standardised across products: but I'm a great
believer in the principle of providing extensibility first, and then
standardising the extensions (or preferably, the extensibility mechanisms)
that prove popular. It's like waiting to see where people want to walk
before you lay the footpaths.


Michael Kay

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