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Re: [xml-dev] nextml

On Wed, 2010-12-08 at 23:27 -0500, Amelia A Lewis wrote:
> Heylas!
> Well, I've read a bunch of interesting web pages and proposals.
> For me, anything that requires W3C to jump on board (in order to permit 
> "<?xml version="!1.0" ?>") is ... *now* ... a non-starter.  I've 
> participated in W3C working groups.  *Time*.

XML took 2 years (most of it was done in the first year).

These days it does take longer at W3C, although you could get a spec
done in 2 or 3 years, and you can get a draft out in a much shorter

The main difficulties are (1) getting consensus, and (2) getting the
right people involved.  Many of our Members in the XML Activity are
heavily invested in XML 1.0 and don't want it to change.

On the other hand, the most interesting people in many ways are the
people *unhappy* with XML, or *not using it today*.

The most frequent change request I hear is to remove the strict syntax
requirements and make every XML implementation include some sort of
HTML-like expert system to do the parsing, automatically "correcting"
errors like missing quotes off attribute values.  That's not a change
you're likely to hear from the XML community, where the "draconian"
error handling, widely misunderstood though it be, is generally
taken as a given.

A new version of XML, if it's going to go anywhere, has to give a
lot of people enough benefit to switch to using it.  So far the
business cases I've heard have not been very compelling.

"Please invest ten billion dollars in this technological change,
Microsoft, Ford, GM, Boeing, GE, Siemens, Apple, etc etc., because
it will improve the aesthetic value of some underlying data layer
and not affect performance or functionality"

The status quo - XML 1.0 - is pretty hard-wired into infrastructure
around us now, like it or not.  If you make a television that puts
out uPNP signals in XML 2 instead of XML 1, and it breaks people's
video recorders and home stereos, they're not going to rush out and
buy new DVD players and speakers to accommodate the change, they're
going to want a refund on that television.  Televisions have something
like a 30 year cycle, not a 3-year cycle.  Same with car engines,
aeroplanes, washing machines, and any other appliance with embedded XML.

So, what exactly is the market?  It's an interesting thought experiment,
and one that recurs every couple of years, but this is always the
show-stopping question.

Does EXI change the picture at all, I wonder?

I still think there's more mileage in exploring new APIs, especially for
Web browsers, and maybe event-based transformations like some of the
work done at JustSystems, than in changing the underlying syntax, today.

Convince me! :-)


Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
Ankh: irc.sorcery.net irc.gnome.org www.advogato.org

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