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the challenges of 'extensible'

I wrote a bit last week about the Extensible Web Summit, and actually got to attend that deeply brain-stimulating event. It was partly an exploration of possibilities for the Web and partly an excellent tour of the W3C sausage-making conversations. Every session I attended had reminders of challenges we've talked about here.

I've written a general report on it here:


but there are a few pieces I'd add from a specifically XML perspective.

The difficult problems remain difficult, no matter what the context. I perhaps foolishly chose "Data Binding Interop" for my first session to see if anything had changed. I was rewarded with echoes of 2000, with more emphasis on structure and less emphasis on type obsession. Instead of arguments between vendors it was arguments among framework creators. I looked a few times to Jeni Tennison and Norm Walsh for confirmation that we'd been here before.

(I may also have even less sympathy for "data binding" than I used to because too much time in Erlang makes it hard for me ever to see object models as saviors.)

I'd strongly encourage XML folks to explore the HTML Web Components conversation. In some ways, it's the Web community attempting to do for itself what the XML community tried to do for them a decade and a half ago. The HTML side has a mostly understood set of tools for specifying appearance, accessibility, and behavior.

For a quick intro, I recommend "A Detailed Introduction To Custom Elements":


The breakdowns tend to come at the intersections of those, which are generally in the DOM, which is an object model, so...

Spending time in HTML reminds me rapidly of how lucky XML was to be able to develop alternatives to the DOM. Despite the "it's a standard, thou shalt use it" attitude of some, we weren't locked into it the same way that HTML folks were. In particular, we haven't tried to hang _everything_ off of it, at least not very often.

There were also some promising conversations about directions that might make CSS more flexible and address the packaging problems that never seem to depart. The last session I went to, on editing and ContentEditable in particular, was another reminder that difficult things are difficult.

Simon St.Laurent

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