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Re: [xml-dev] Whither XML ?

On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 8:30 PM, Michael Kay <mike@saxonica.com> wrote:
> I think the user community wants the facilities in these standards - or at
> least, there is a substantial market for such functionality - and I'm
> frustrated by the inability to deliver it. But I'm not asking the
> browser-makers to deliver it. Frankly, if we expect browsers to be free,
> then I don't see how we can make such demands. What I am asking for is for
> the browser to become a much more open platform, in which the browser-maker
> delivers interoperable extensibility and the rest of the community has the
> ability to decide what gets offered (and what gets used) on top of the basic
> platform: an architecture in which both the document markup and the
> functionality associated with the markup are open and extensible - and in
> which they are all extensible using standardized interfaces.

I completely agree with this thesis .. commercial browser makers do
what they like to make profit ... its up to users (and developers) to
voice their requirements to browser makers; not the other way around.

I think standards bodies like the W3C are characterized by their
membership and whilst there is always an opportunity to improve
process and engage better with the community, it will always be a
'closed' community engaging with the public.

Personally, I manage this frustrating state of affairs by spending
time/energy on efforts like EXSLT, EXPath, EXQuery (and I hope EXProc
in the future). These efforts inevitably are less rigorous but occur
on shorter timescales, this is especially important in our field ....
10 years is far too long for any standard to be generated, if only for
the fact that advances in hardware will change a lot of underlying
assumptions during these timescales making it doubly difficult to
navigate a standard to some useful outcome.

Also I have found that these 'EX' type ancillary standards provide
valuable feedback to 'official' standard bodies.

I don't see any barrier (other then the familiar constraints of
time/effort) where we could spec out extensions to the browser and
request/build implementations in Firefox, Webkit and Chrome.

Perhaps I am being naive, but I think this approach would be an order
of magnitude shorter then trying to change existing constraints with
existing standard orgs.

> I've also heard suggestions that we can write anything we like in
> Javascript. Perhaps we can - but is it that really a reasonable way forward?
> When did we last have a computing platform that required all applications to
> be written in the same high-level language?

I also am not convinced that javascript is the 'assembly' language of
the internet ...

All I ask for is pluggable access e.g.

<script type="application/xquery+xml">

I don't need people telling me 'why would you use xquery in the
browser' ... I would like it today and I would like to be able to
integrate it with the browser in a consistent manner and well known
interface ... let it wither if no one adopts but don't try to convince
me that javascript is the 'one true  language' ... it isn't.

> I don't think anyone can dispute that the browser has become a bottleneck in


James Fuller

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