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RE: [xml-dev] "Introducing MicroXML, Part 1: Explore the basicprinciples of MicroXML"

Hi Len,

Thanks for your reply. Your points seem clear, but I sure may miss
some.  Please re-visit if I seem to miss the point by too much :-).
> The difficulty, Peter, is you are in the well-known trap of 
> classical liberalism vs social liberalism.  To preserve the 
> greatest amount of flexibility for the one or few the 
> governing authority makes the fewest rules possible (aka, 
> smallest government) rather than pursue the social liberalism 
> approach of the rules all must obey for the greatest 
> efficiency.  The outcome is given the fewest rules the most effective
> group takes over making the rules.   On a pirate ship (where pure
> democracy is the ideal), the secret crew takes over once the 
> rest of the crew has obtained the prize.  It's inevitable:  
> an elite takes the
> spoils.   This isn't unnatural.  It is exactly what one can illustrate
> in the majority of civilizations where common resources have 
> to be managed and distributed by cooperative consent.  See the Mayans.

I'm guessing that the difference may be that we're talking about information,
not physical resources?  Not sure.  What do you think?

> Technically, what is now current is right.  Unless XML is 
> kept free of application semantics then the semantics chosen 
> govern all applications that use XML.  In practice, the 
> difference is moot.  XHTML rules the roost until HTML5 does 
> away with XHTML and thus, XML.  And then someone will knock off HTML5.

I don't know much about XHTML.  I always thought of it as HTML.
I believe what's required is a consensual merger, not a takeover.  And after
that, the consensus process should be managed more closely than it has been.

I note that the IETF is having their 84th meeting this month.  Maybe they
have got a good handle on the consensus-management approach.  

> As long as the web itself IS an application (which in ISO 
> layer architecture, it is), whoever governs the web sets 
> those rules.  This is not TimBL, the W3C or any of the others 
> you mention but the mostly anonymous browser designers at a 
> handful of companies and their moneyed customers. 

I don't know.  Isn't the Web community bigger than any of those things?
And thankfully we have somebody to pay browser designers and developers 
to move the yardsticks. The web is a kind of federation, where anyone
can participate.  That's a thing of beauty!
> The very people you are asking to vote have the least 
> interest in making changes and really, not much power to make 
> changes that large.  They can tinker but that's about it.  
> Your scenario between Roy and Tim is ironic because the W3C 
> and its membership have organized it to prevent exactly that 
> scenario from occurring.  

Acutally, I'm also glad it can't occur.  That would be the worst 
possible dictatorship.  Community opinion matters though, but we
need to figure out how to manage it.  And note, I asked everybody to
vote, not just the big three.  I just wanted some leadership to be
exercised on matters of import to the community.  I am really thankful
for the work that those people have put into XML, and I think
their opinions really matter.  But what matters most is the overall
opinion.  So I tried to structure the thing in a way that did not
insult everyone or anyone. 

> Spend time on the Web Architecture 
> Working Group list.  An organization that avowed to perform 
> in Internet Time discovered that Internet Time is a myth.  

I agree that good results take time and experience.  

> It 
> enabled them to reduce ISO influence and thus obtain some 
> political objectives, but once an application is fielded in 
> the large, it becomes a honeyed treacle through which any 
> fast march is considerably reduced in speed.  The W3C 
> succumbed to the very forces of market treacle it said it 
> could overcome.  These aren't hurt feelings.  This is market reality. 

Well it's a good thing that the architecture of the web was so well
established prior to Web 2.0, IMHO.  

> The likely way this changes is for one of the current big 
> companies to discover a not too risky technical change

I think that adding simple, usable hypermedia to XML is not too big a
technical change, and, to me, it doesn't seem too risky for anyone,
since we can always not use those semantics, if we don't want to.  But,
I sure don't have the depth of intelligence or experience to say for
sure.  That's why James originally asked for the community to discuss it.
I'm trying to help.

> that 
> enables them to take market share.  In game theory, it is a 
> stag hunt and they have to decide to chase a rabbit because 
> the short term rewards outweigh the immediate or long term 
> advantages of continuing to cooperate.  The proprietary web 
> clients used by publishers have been attempting this but so 
> far enjoy only limited success.  The way they would succeed 
> would be to replace the web itself (build and field a 
> different browser that doesn't use HTTP even if it is 
> technically a REST model) and that has a very small 
> likelihood of succeeding.

Well, I agree it would be a little bit difficult to field something
not based on REST at this point.  I'm sure am not bright enough to figure
out what that might be.  However, I think it could benefit everyone
if we start thinking about what REST is and how we can burn it into our
DNA so that we don't have to think too much about it again; it just works.

Here's what TimBL says about links:

"In an extreme view, the world can be seen as only connections, nothing else. We think of a dictionary as the repository of meaning, but it defines words only in terms of other words. I liked the idea that a piece of information is really defined only by what it's related to, and how it's related. There really is little else to meaning. The structure is everything. There are billions of neurons in our brains, but what are neurons? Just cells. The brain has no knowledge until connections are made between neurons. All that we know, all that we are, comes from the way our neurons are connected."

Tim Berners-Lee, "Weaving the Web", p14 [1],[2]

Atom came pretty darn close to capturing the flag, IMHO.  I think a MicroML,
or a "Hyper Media Markup Language" (think merger, not takeover) could use 
that experience and improve on it, and I would argue that it doesn't need much to succeed, beyond what we've 
talked about in this thread.  But I'm just guessing, we need some more insight,
from the community.


[1] http://www.amazon.com/Weaving-Web-Original-Ultimate-Destiny/dp/006251587X
[2] Thanks to Steve Klabnik, now I have to go and buy the book (but it's a bargain!)

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