OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index]
Re: [xml-dev] Which is the Authority: The Schema or the Text?

In the majority of cases, the schema should win because it drives machines and people adapt better. However, as the designer implementing it and if there is no one to ask, I implement the one that makes the most sense as long as I control the schema. If I don't I either implement the schema or I send out error notices saying "the schema doesn't make sense; I adjusted it as follows...".

I am continually surprised by the lack of understanding among those who write contracts, procurements, proposals etc. about the issues of citing schemas they themselves have never looked at or understand. (XML illiteracy is a serious issue in procurement circles.)

Real discussion:

XML Implementer: "I know you are several months into building your MS Word templates and spreadsheets, but you S1000D infoCodes aren't valid."

Document Designer and Big Poobah: "Those codes were selected intelligently."

XI: "Did you read the schema pattern facets?"

SELECTED INTELLIGENTLY!!! .... so what should we do?"

XI: "The only impact at this time is when we open the module to format it, the XML validator will issue error messages then ask you if you want coffee with that. Otherwise, it will keep working. So we can ignore the errors for now. Or I can adjust the schema and the errors will stop."

DD&P: "Then fix the schema."

XI: "I will if you say so but the first time you have to deliver the XML instead of making PDFs, the receiving organization will kick them back for being non-conforming. And over time as changes are made by the folks designing
the schema record of authority, your files will drift further out of compliance. Worse, those codes are part of the overall set of identifiers to which references are made. If you wait and you are asked to bring it up to spec, you'll have a lot of work to do. Just sayin'...."

DD&P: "You're scaring me with this stuff. In the out years, you are too expensive to keep around. I'll hire a college kid who knows a little XML to come do this. Are you saying I won't be able to do that?"

And your answer to the last question should be?

XI: "Don't worry. Just do that."

You see, Dunning-Krueger is real and can only be cured by repeated hits on the head with a blunt object.

It's a messy world and gets messier the longer one ignores the rules. Creativity and pipelines of data that has to be both correct by construction and in compliance to enable decoupled processes do not congeal happily or cheaply.


Quoting Michael Sokolov <msokolov@safaribooksonline.com>:

On 12/20/13 5:34 AM, Michael Kay wrote:
One resolution is to write into the text "if there are any conflicts, the schema wins". I don't think it's helpful to write into the text "if there are any conflicts with the schema, the text wins," since schema users will just ignore that, and I don't know how to write into the schema, "if there are any conflicts with the text, the text wins," although that might be what is wanted.

It doesn't matter what you write down, it depends on who wins when you start fighting over it.

It comes back to the question I often ask about constraints: what happens when your man in Egypt employs a 14-year-old tea-boy and the database (or the company process manual) says he can't? Does the tea-boy get sacked, or not? I'm sure the answer is likely to vary from one company to another, and probably depends on personalities. In most organisations I've come across, the tea-boy stays, but off the official payroll, so everyone is happy.

In XML terms, the schema wins, the tea-boy doesn't appear in the instance documents, or if he does, he appears with a falsified age. But he's still there, making tea.

Michael Kay

Yes, organizations practice a kind of constructive self-deception in which everyone goes away thinking they've won, while holding different views.


[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index]

News | XML in Industry | Calendar | XML Registry
Marketplace | Resources | MyXML.org | Sponsors | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1993-2007 XML.org. This site is hosted by OASIS