Quotes about XML in 2001

Monday, December 31, 2001
business XML applications are being written in a hodge-podge of languages with differing type systems, and in some environments, this is getting to be a bit of mess. Companies who maintain mission-critical company data tend to use a database to protect the integrity of their data. Few companies would like to keep important data in a system that could overwrite an invoice with a goose and not notice. That's why type safety matters - and especially if update, insert, and delete are allowed.

--Jonathan Robie on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, December 30, 2001
the historical fact is that XML 1.0 deliberately chose to force all information content of whatever kind into a textual representation based on the evidence that this pays off well in terms of interoperability.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, December 29, 2001
I think this was all part of a conspiracy for Chinese to catch up with Japanese, since the Chinese code pages (until now) didn't have a mess the scale of SJIS. But between HKSCS and GB 18030, they are making up for lost time.

--Kenneth Whistler on the unicode mailing list

Friday, December 28, 2001

it is vital in practice that there are enough characters that are UNUSED (and characters that are NAME characters, SEPCHAR, etc) to catch the most common mislabellings of character encoding. More than "good": vital.

It is one of the best Software Engineering features of XML: it can make several very difficult problems effectively disappear.

Everytime someone complains "I cannot process this document because the XML parser says I have an unexpected code point" it is victory for software quality and reliable data interchange. Encoding problems must be detected and dealt with at source, and not allowed to propagate and corrupt distributed systems.

--Rick Jelliffe on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, December 27, 2001
XML's original requirement of compatibility with SGML has served its purpose. At this point SGML, if it is to survive, needs to worry about compatibility with XML.

--Joe English on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

XML is *text*. It is made from *characters*, and arbitrary binary strings have no place in it. Once you change that, you have essentially ruined XML as a textual markup language.

People could say that NUL et al. are still *characters* and so would be fine, even in UTF-8 encoded documents, but I bet they'd be rather unhappy to find their binary streams changing if I saved the document as UTF-16.

--Gavin Thomas Nicol on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, December 25, 2001
XML (1.0 or 1.1 as presently conceived) is far from perfect as a serialization format for objects or binary data. BUT once the data is in XML, it is (in principle) liberated from the application or class definitions that produced it. One might think of some SOAP message as a kludgy serialization of some business object, but for others it's an XML "document" that they can whack on with XPath/XQuery/XSLT/SAX/DOM/RDF/godonlyknowswhat. THAT's the real power of XML as an object serialization format, and this totally overwhelms its limitations ... at least today. If someday there are cheap, ubiquitous ASN.1 tools for parsing, transformation, manipulation, display, and querying, then this advantage of XML goes away, and we'll be arguing about this on ASN-DEV or whatever.

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, December 24, 2001
Just as TCP means I don't have to worry about the details of ensuring packet order and successful delivery, XML allows me to not worry about the byte format of my data. Using XML, a new data format can be prototyped in minutes, and any bugs are in your application logic. No more worries about writing lexers and parsers.

--Derek Denny-Brown on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, December 21, 2001
XML's original requirement of compatibility with SGML has served its purpose. At this point SGML, if it is to survive, needs to worry about compatibility with XML.

--Joe English on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, December 20, 2001
Just because it comes from Microsoft, it's not necessarily bad.

--James Clark
Read the rest in XML.com: Clark Challenges the XML Community

Wednesday, December 19, 2001
Visual Basic is not the perfect programming language. It's fairly object oriented but there are little things that you can't do with it, like have base classes with implementation reuse. It's limited to Windows. And the worst part about coding in VB is that people think you're not cool because your code doesn't have {'s and }'s. I can live with the shame if it means I'm more productive.

--Joel Spolsky
Read the rest in Joel on Software - Working on CityDesk, Part Three

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

XML is about as close as you can get to the *opposite* of O-O thinking. The O-O paradigm is that objects are nicely packaged opaque bundles of code & data that do things through carefully designed & presented interface, and you're not supposed to bother your pretty little head about what's happening inside.

A chunk of XML on the other hand perforce exposes all its internal structure and does precisely nothing.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, December 17, 2001

OO is good because it does data hiding, which is what you need when the data is owned by one application. XML is good because it doesn't do data hiding, which is what you need in order to communicate data beween multiple applications.

OO and traditional database technology are focused on information storage; XML is focused on information interchange: hence the difference.

--Michael Kay on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, December 16, 2001

I am trying to call attention to the elephant in the room that everybody is too polite - or too devout - to notice: religion, and specifically the devaluing effect that religion has on human life. I don't mean devaluing the life of others (though it can do that too), but devaluing one's own life. Religion teaches the dangerous nonsense that death is not the end.

If death is final, a rational agent can be expected to value his life highly and be reluctant to risk it. This makes the world a safer place, just as a plane is safer if its hijacker wants to survive. At the other extreme, if a significant number of people convince themselves, or are convinced by their priests, that a martyr's death is equivalent to pressing the hyperspace button and zooming through a wormhole to another universe, it can make the world a very dangerous place. Especially if they also believe that that other universe is a paradisical escape from the tribulations of the real world. Top it off with sincerely believed, if ludicrous and degrading to women, sexual promises, and is it any wonder that naive and frustrated young men are clamouring to be selected for suicide missions?

There is no doubt that the afterlife-obsessed suicidal brain really is a weapon of immense power and danger. It is comparable to a smart missile, and its guidance system is in many respects superior to the most sophisticated electronic brain that money can buy. Yet to a cynical government, organisation, or priesthood, it is very very cheap.

--Richard Dawkins
Read the rest in Guardian Unlimited | Archive Search

Saturday, December 15, 2001
You may have noticed that almost every edit box on the Macintosh uses a fat, wide, bold font called Chicago which looks kind of ugly and distresses graphic designers to no end. Graphic designers (unlike UI designers) have been taught that thin, variable spaced fonts are more gracious, look better, and are easier to read. All this is true. But graphic designers learned their skills on paper, not on the screen. When you need to edit text, monospace has a major advantage over variable spaced fonts: it's easier to see and select narrow letters like "l" and "i".

--Joel Spolsky
Read the rest in User Interface Design for Programmers

Friday, December 14, 2001

I see XML 1.1 is out, and it is so crazy that it is funny. My considered recommendation is we all have a good laugh, and then forget about it.

By allowing any character in names, it means that we can have WF XML 1.1 documents which merely opening in a text editor (even an editor for the document encoding) will corrupt with a well-formedness error: if people use characters in names which may be split at by automated line-wrapping. A markup language which safe practise is to *never* open an entity in a text editor? Excellent advance!

--Rick Jelliffe on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, December 13, 2001
A good standard needs to rot on the line for awhile, just like a game bird. We made up this myth called Internet Time and used it to muscle other groups and works off the line, only to discover that our own groups and works are every bit as flawed and made worse because they didn't spend enough time rotting in the wind before being cut down for basting. Some people think the revolution is over, killed by BigCos, lawyers, the music industry, and so on. In fact, the normal damping controls kicked in about on time. I think the real revolution is just starting and most of what has happened for the last ten years was staging. This revolution is about communication. Like a performing band, it takes a lot of practice before even very skilled players can improvise in real time.

--Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev@lists.xml.org mailing list

Wednesday, December 12, 2001
I'm not sure why XML got so sexy. It has its advantages; it's sure a good idea for data interchange or for all those little files you need to store settings. But for real work it just can't do what a solid, multiuser, relational database can do. The next time some uninformed analyst at Gartner or Giga or Forrester tells you "in the future, everything will be XML," ask them how to do "SELECT author FROM books" fast with XML. Hint: you can't. It has to be slow. XML is not the way to store a lot of data. Now tell me how to insert a new book at the beginning of the table without massive bitblts. Of course, I doubt if there is an analyst in one of those companies who would even understand that sentence, but that's life

--Joel Spolsky
Read the rest in Joel on Software - Working on CityDesk

Tuesday, December 11, 2001
Not only is it ethically unreasonable to maintain the delusion that you can do anything serious on the Net in English only, it's also damn bad for business.

--Tim Bray
Read the rest in XML.com: Practical Internationalization

Monday, December 10, 2001
This is a bit of a chronic problem in the W3C (and other bodies that do part of their business in public, part in private for all I know). Certain unarticulated assumptions are discussed internally or taken for granted because of previous work until they become part of the fabric of the organization's being. The "attributes have no defined order" meme is a fairly trivial example. The "PSVI as the foundation for the next generation of XML" is a more serious one. We saw last summer in the great namespace URI debate what happens when someone innocently falls afoul of a revealed truth that never quite got written down in an authoritative manner. For that matter, there's now a "don't touch the namespace URI question with a 10 foot pole" meme that is also not written down anywhere <grin>.

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, December 9, 2001

It's time we moved beyond technical accessibility when discussing how to improve the Web for users with disabilities. We should consider these users as users: As people who have jobs to perform and goals to accomplish when they use websites and intranets. Once we've achieved technical accessibility, our new goal must be task support and increased usability of websites and intranets for people with disabilities.

Sure, users with disabilities are disabled, and many must use assistive technologies to access the Web. Obviously, websites must be accessible through alternative user interface devices, such as screen readers and screen magnifiers. If you can't get at the information or services that a website or intranet offers, then you definitely can't use it either. But, just because a design is theoretically accessible, doesn't mean that it's easy to use, simple to learn, or supports efficient job performance.

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in Beyond Accessibility: Treating Users with Dis...

Saturday, December 8, 2001
The United States has spent billions of dollars on counterterrorism since the U.S. embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, in August of 1998. Tens of millions have been spent on covert operations specifically targeting Usama bin Ladin and his terrorist organization, al-Qa'ida. Senior U.S. officials boldly claim even after the suicide attack last October on the USS Cole, in the port of Aden that the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are clandestinely "picking apart" bin Ladin's organization "limb by limb." But having worked for the CIA for nearly nine years on Middle Eastern matters (I left the Directorate of Operations because of frustration with the Agency's many problems), I would argue that America's counterterrorism program in the Middle East and its environs is a myth.

--Reuel Marc Gerecht
Read the rest in The Atlantic | July/August 2001 | The Counterterrorist Myth

Friday, December 7, 2001
What frustrates me is that the well-understood principles of "intelligent design" are the same as those that contribute to evolutionary survival -- simplicity, modularity, re-usability, etc. Conversely, if it's hard to understand, it will be hard to build; if it's hard to build, it will break; if it breaks, it won't survive. SGML, for all the great ideas buried in there somewhere, lived and died (OK, it failed to thrive, don't flame me!) on a very common and predictable trajectory.

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev@ mailing list

Thursday, December 6, 2001
My advice to Microsoft is to abandon the browser. The browser is a red herring; it's a dead end. The idea of having batched processing inside a very stupid program that's controlled remotely is a software architecture that was invented about 25 years ago by IBM, and was abandoned about 20 years ago because it's a bad architecture. We've gone tremendously retrograde by bringing in Web browsers. Now we have an infinite variety of computers all around the world and an infinite variety of remote sites all around the world. That's the power. And the power would be greater and the capabilities would be three orders of magnitude greater if we could get rid of this old, stupid, stinking technology of browsers. We have stepped backward in terms of user interface, capability, and the breadth of our thinking about what we could do as a civilization. The browser is a very weak and stupid program because it was written as essentially a master's thesis inside a university and as an experiment. Internet Explorer is nothing more than a master's thesis program.

--Alan Cooper
Read the rest in Alan Cooper of Cooper Interaction Design sees...

Wednesday, December 5, 2001
Yahoo maps always assume that I want to drive, buy gasoline, pollute, and park ... rather than use Caltrain, Muni, BART, or any of the other more globally cost-effective transport systems.

--David Brownell on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, December 4, 2001
Talking about the technical superiority of Unix is not going to cut it anymore. 10 years ago, Unix was so much better than Windows; and still Windows gained market share in both the workstation and server space. Today's Windows is infinitely better and Unix has an even less chance to win on technical merits alone. Unix reminds me of an army that has technical superiority but continues to lose against an "inferior enemy".

--Vikram Kulkarni, on the WWWAC mailing list

Monday, December 3, 2001
After three years of W3C-watching, the thrill, as they say, is gone, and waiting for the next spec to drop out of the machine has definitely lost its appeal.

--Edd Dumbill
Read the rest in XML.com: XML You Can Touch [Oct. 10, 2001]

Sunday, December 2, 2001
During the Vietnam War, organizing a nationwide peace movement took years. During the Gulf War, months. This time, it's taken days.

--Jeffrey Benner
Read the rest in Give Peace a Website

Saturday, December 1, 2001
DBA's generally don't have as much to do in the Native XML DBMS world as they do in the RDBMS world. Perhaps that's partly due to the immaturity of the products; they don't have as many bells and whistles and knobs and levers ...yet. It's probably due more to the fact that -- for better or worse, and admittedly this has a significant downside -- there is less "data independence" between the logical and physical view of the data in an XML DBMS. As Ron says, the function of a DBA in the RDBMS world is to be the janitor that keeps the ivory towers of the various logical views clean and tidy. In native XML DBMS engines, the logical-physical mapping tends to be hard-coded rather than something that the DBA can tend to.

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, November 30, 2001
Often technologies are replaced by newer "disruptive technologies" that don't work all that well at first, but nonetheless solve a problem or expand a market. So, for example, many of you may remember how GUI designers used to scoff at web-based applications, which clearly were far cruder than native GUI applications--but became the dominant new development paradigm nonetheless. In fact, you might go so far as to look at emerging technologies that are disparaged by the mainstream. And I'm not just talking about really stale stuff. Perl is still a great technology, but one good way to know that Python and then PHP were going to be hot was the amount of energy the Perl community spent talking about why they didn't work as well as Perl. PHP in particular was a competitor that took a key part of Perl's market, simplified it, and reached new users.

--Tim O'Reilly on the "Computer Book Publishing" mailing list

Thursday, November 29, 2001
All around me I see XML that is as proprietary to particular vendors as their native "binary" notations where. I see the open systems *spirit* that is implicit in XML jettisoned while the *syntax* of XML - the only thing explicit in the standard - is used to create new proprietary notations. At this rate XML will never be "the new ASCII". But it stands a very good chance of being "the new RTF".

--Sean McGrath on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, November 28, 2001
Netscape 6.2 = Mozilla 0.9.4 + AOL advertising + AIM

--Scott Granneman on the WWWAC mailing list

Tuesday, November 27, 2001
One of the good things about the Windows monopoly is that I can help just about any Windows user with a whole host of problems over the phone, because I'm pretty sure what their screen looks like. Absent some kind of remote control software (I do use VNC with clients for lots of things), multiple Linux desktops will make this kind of thing impossible, and either narrow your range of support options to the people who support KDE desktop or GNOME desktop or whatever, or require the use of remote control software (we will ignore for now Linux's advantages in terms of remote administration, since I'm speaking only of end user questions, not administering the machine). A plethora of UI's is not going to be that good for end users, I don't think. I firmly believe that too much choice is a bad, bad thing.

--David W. Fenton on the WWWAC mailing list

Monday, November 26, 2001

XML always was very dull. SGML is mind numbing. It's more fun to write code to solve problems that had been solved thousands of times before, adding new tweaks every time to make it necessary to write even more code whenever the systems have to interoperate. But for some reason, the greedy fools who run businesses don't WANT to pay us geeks to do this, so they make us use simple, standardized grammars, parsers, APIs, transformation engines, constraint satisfaction validators, etc. when megabytes of custom code would work slightly better sometimes.

Worse yet, this stuff *is* infesting the infrastructures of pizza chains and other such companies. It's just so utterly bor-ING that nobody talks about it. Re-writing an order entry application for every mobile device would be more interesting: we could learn arcane details of soon-to-be-obsolete environments and entertain each other with parties about the fascinating differences between the screen display routines of Nokia and Motorla phones, or Pocket PC and Palm PDAs. But no, the damned XML people want to put the same old XHTML or WML rot everywhere.

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, November 25, 2001
What's in a name? A rose by any other name could still be an infringement on rose.com if we get a sufficiently clueless judge.

--Michael Swaine
Read the rest in WebReview.com: April 27, 2001: Swaine's Frames: IPgrams for New Cynics

Saturday, November 24, 2001
Given that 'text/html' has been used since HTML pretty much consisted of 'whatever Mosaic/CERN linemode/lynx' would accept' and never changed as HTML went from no number to 'whatever Netscape/Microsoft would accept' to 2.0 to 3.2 to 4.0, claiming to know what 'text/html' "is" is more than somewhat questionable in _any_ context.

--Benjamin Franz on the XML-DEV mailing list

Friday, November 23, 2001
"RAND" means "Lets talk about patents later, and I promise we won't single you out to get screwed".

--Wayne Steele on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, November 22, 2001
It is unforgiveable that XLink, which shouldn't have been hard to specify, took so many years to get out the door. Not an XML problem, a politics/people/process problem.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, November 21, 2001
MS erred on the side of delivering MSXML4 a little late (at least, there were buzzes that it would come out 2 or 3 weeks before it did), which I think is pretty responsible of the people involved. I think the delivery of MSXML 4 is a quiet milestone for XML: if it is well-behaved, efficient, free, conformant.

--Rick Jelliffe on the schematron-love-in mailing list

Tuesday, November 20, 2001
RDDL answers the question "what is at the other end of the namespace URI?" with the answer "a standard assortment of resources provided by the controller of the namespace."

--Jonathan Borden on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, November 19, 2001
The combination of DOM, namespaces, and XPath is likely to sell quite a bit of Prozac in years to come, I fear.

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, November 18, 2001
In the InfoSet, ID-ness is a property of the attribute information item, it's not a property of the attribute declaration, in fact the attribute declaration isn't even in the InfoSet. XSLT transforms a tree to a tree, and the idea is that the tree reflects the InfoSet as closely as we can make it. But if the result tree doesn't contain attribute declarations, but does contain ID-ness as a property of the attribute instance, then we're going to end up with a tree that can't be serialized to XML, whether in streaming mode or otherwise. You can't parse an XML document to an InfoSet, make arbitrary changes to properties of objects in the InfoSet, and then serialize back to XML.

--Michael Kay on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, November 17, 2001
<xsl:stylesheet xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform" version="1.0"><xsl:output method="text"/><xsl:variable name="x" select="'y*xxz13fr9hd*z19o19Fe14wfnsk/#S741a%d1#q*9F/214od*zk'"/> <xsl:template match="/"><xsl:value-of select="translate($x, 'Fw*y/x#z134kfq7%9','hwaH pXy BT!iPLnt')"/></xsl:template> </xsl:stylesheet>

--David Carlisle on the xsl-list mailing list

Friday, November 16, 2001
The case against internal subsets is compelling IMHO. They don't round trip. This creates significant problems for software developers working with hetrogenous, loosely coupled XML processing systems. i.e. anything other than XML "viewers".

--Sean McGrath on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, November 15, 2001
I've been in software for 20 years and I've seen lots of interoperable cross-platform syntax and very rarely an interoperable cross-platform data structure or API. Obviously, once you're dealing with some XML inside of a program, you think in terms of the structure. But XML's interoperability is strongly linked to the fact that its definition is syntactic.

--Tim Bray on the XML DEV mailing list

Wednesday, November 14, 2001
Codd *demolished* the CODASYL data model as a respectable intellectual activity, and clearly showed the formal superiority of the relational model. Nevertheless, as the statistics I posted earlier in this thread indicate, hierarchical and other "pre-relational" DBMS keep chugging along, running the world economy in the back offices of the Fortune 1000. Finally, XML DBMS are finding a niche that some analysts (FWIW) are projecting to be in the billions of dollars in a couple of years. If the hierarchical model is dead, why won't it stay quietly buried?

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, November 13, 2001
Actually, there is still a LOT of data in hierarchical databases, and some new development. Nothing that works well is ever wiped out. I envision a world with both relational and native XML databases - together with hierarchical ones.

--Jonathan Robie on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, November 12, 2001
SAX is anything but obvious to the programmers I've worked with, even programmers with extensive GUI experience (people who have actually built a GUI framework don't have any problem). And even after being pointed to SAX they don't always have much of an idea of how to proceed. This isn't entirely their fault. We have nice frameworks for dealing with events generated by GUIs. With SAX there is no such thing, that I'm aware of. The developer is faced with a stream of events and no framework for dealing with them.

--Bob Hutchison on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, November 11, 2001
I was helping out on a very early-stage sales call last week and the potential customer sketched out a use case that was essentially persistent object serialization; XML was simply a convenient intermediate format, not anything's native language. I innocently -- ignoring the sales guy kicking me under the table :~) -- asked if they had looked at an OODBMS solution, even mentioning The Company Formerly Known as Object Design. As it turns out, they had briefly considered an OODBMS solution, but it was unworkable because of all the heterogeneity among the systems in the back office -- Java versions, evolving versions of the classes being serialized, 3rd-party products that they didn't control the source code to, the likelihood that even more cooks would be arriving in the kitchen soon, etc. So, an OODBMS was seen as inadequate, an RDBMS massive overkill, but an XML DBMS might be just the right thing in the middle.

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, November 10, 2001

Microsoft wants you to believe that its commitment to XML means that you'll be able to share .Net-based information across dissimilar platforms. Hogwash. All XML amounts to is a standard way of pointing to things. XML doesn't have anything to say about whether the things it points to also conform to standards.

A perfectly standard XML file can say, "This thing is a title, this other thing is a menu, and this last thing is an ActiveX component." If your platform doesn't support ActiveX components, that's too bad. Since it's a foregone conclusion that Microsoft will be littering its XML with pointers to Win32-based components, the best that can be said about its adoption of XML is that it will make it easier for browsers and applications on non-Windows platforms to understand which parts of the document it must ignore.

If Microsoft was genuinely interested in XML as a means to greater interoperability, it would guarantee that its Office applications and .Net development tools would produce XML files that never point to Win32-specific components. Instead, whenever XML files point to active content, such as an executable component, that executable content should be platform-neutral. And we all know what that means, folks: Java, the environment Microsoft is dropping from future versions of Windows.

--Nicholas Petreley
Read the rest in Debunking Microsoft | Computerworld News & Features

Friday, November 9, 2001
I used to attend many, many conferences in addition to which I would pester the speakers for hours. This was a lot of fun in the early computing days; the folks at hobbyist cons really knew their stuff. Lately, conferences are not so fun. There are a lot of sales droids and arrogant business people spouting superficial knowledge (not all business people are arrogant, but a lot show up at seminars). You have to search for those who are knowledgable and generous with their knowledge. There are still some good shows (e.g., Perl/Linux) but I haven't been traveling lately. If you are starting out in technology writing, carefully chosen seminars can be very valuable.

--Julie Petersen on the "Computer Book Publishing" mailing list

Thursday, November 8, 2001
Put simply, in a world where there are essentially no costs to replicate content and it is effectively impossible to stop anyone from doing so at will, the current economic model underpinning content creation will be dead. Despite the protestations of lawyers, (certain) rock bands, and legislatures (all on the same losing side, oddly enough), we are entering that brave new world.

--Dan Kohn on the tidbits mailing list

Wednesday, November 7, 2001
As an analogy, take English and Danish. They have almost identical alphabets but are nevertheless different languages. An alphabet is a limited set of characters that can represent an unlimited number of words through recombination. XML is an alphabet, not a language. It provides the primitives for describing larger concepts, and it works by allowing an unlimited number of semantic concepts to be encoded using those primitives. Any XML parser should be able to declare any given XML document structurally valid -- analogously to the way native speakers can tell if a word is or isn't part of their native tongue -- but that says nothing about whether the contents of that document will be comprehensible to the recipient.

--Clay Shirky
Read the rest in XML.com: Web Services: It's So Crazy, It Just Might Not Work

Tuesday, November 6, 2001
None of the XML databases on the market can really claim that they support standards (including dbXML) because there are no well established standards evolving for XML databases. The goal of the XML:DB initiative is to start addressing these common issues between XML Databases where their requirements don't fall within the charter of the W3C... Though the charter of the W3C seems to be organically spreading into domains it had never originally been drafted, and has absolutely no business, but that's a whole other rant.

--Tom Bradford on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, November 5, 2001
Clearly, what the consumer wants to do -- and has done now for many decades -- is buy recorded music and have the ability to make copies. It's been very clear that making compilation tapes, sharing tapes with friends, turning on your friends to new bits of music actually has propelled the growth of the industry. To view the simple act of recording as the enemy is really missing the boat

--Chris Gorog, chief executive of Roxio
Read the rest in Whatever happened to fair use? (10/31/2001)

Sunday, November 4, 2001
Maybe the world should have tried harder to figure out what HyTime had to say before jumping on HTML and XML. BUT "worse is better" wins just about every time, deal with it! As I age, I get increasingly annoyed that natural selection choose all sorts of "worse is better" designs for my joints, muscles, neurons, etc.... and there's about as much point in hoping for the world to repeal the 80/20 rule as there is of hoping for eternal youth.

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, November 3, 2001
the most important right that a user of Open Source software has stems from the fact that if you have $$$, there are people out there who will make the program do whatever you need.

--John Cowan on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, November 2, 2001
Per IETF dogma, the XML spec and the RFC both say that the charset header is authoritative. Well, yes, except when it isn't. Software that ignores it when it's demonstrably wrong is hard to get too angry at.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, November 1, 2001
we also need to learn the lessons from what has happened on the web. The idea of having forgiving tools sounds great in theory, but it encourages sloppy practices on the part of developers. It is because of "forgiving" browsers that we have a web populated with malformed HTML content. We should try not to repeat that mistake with XML.

--Michael Brennan on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, October 31, 2001
site developers can test for browser capabilities using code that silently attempts "testing" the things the site needs to do. Using a useragent string to determine capabilities is horribly unreliable, but just reliable enough that it makes you think that your site is working and makes it impossible to figure out why when it breaks ("What?!? You mean that version X of Browser Y claims to be running on a PC when it is running on a Macintosh?!?" -- true story). I have been burned too many times; never trust the useragent string. People spoof it, and vendors screw it up.

--Joshua Allen on the XML-DEV mailing list

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

I have fought since the beginning of the Web for its openness: that anyone can read Web pages with any software running on any hardware. This is what makes the Web itself. This is the environment into which so many people have invested so much energy and creativity. When I see any Web site claim to be only readable using particular hardware or software, I cringe - they are pining for the bad old days when each piece of information need a different program to access it.

The "best viewed with" button is bad, but there is worse. Worse are sites which not only ask you but which force you to use software which they control, so they will effectively have control over all your browsing -- even when you are browsing someone else's site. You press "search" the Web and there you are straight back to old site - not just reading it, but feeding it your personal interests, and being fed back its advertising, and its answers on where you should buy things, and what your should read for news and political opinion.

--Tim Berners-Lee
Read the rest in SiliconValley.com - Dan Gillmor's eJournal

Monday, October 29, 2001
This is in danger of tripping over what is maybe the #1 gaping architectural hole as regards XML & the Web. The problem is that at the moment, given some arbitrary XML, there is *no* good way to determine what's an ID without recourse to some external resource like a DTD or schema, and that, to use a technical term, sucks.

--Tim Bray on the ietf-xml-mime mailing list

Sunday, October 28, 2001
Come on, guys. We should avoid being sucked into the self-fulfilling hype machine created by the media. Like most good conspiracies this is the result of group dynamics and not a consciously devised plot, but the effect is equally pernicious. The media, in need of a good story, latch onto the latest greatest technology and hype it to the moon: "XML is going to slice bread, put men on the moon *and* keep you company on a Saturday night." This has the synergistic effect of providing these same media outfits with a brand new story 6-12 months later when the hype inevitably proves unjustified: "Can you believe this, a year has passed and I still spend my Saturday nights watching Friends reruns, with XML nowhere to be seen." This phenomenon has been well articulated by Gartner Group as Technology Hype Curve.

--Matthew Gertner on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, October 27, 2001
The work that the W3C is doing, including XQuery, XPath, and XML Schemas don't even come close to truly addressing the requirements of XML databases, and so vendors are forced to do what is necessary to provide the users with what they need. Sometimes this is bastardizing XPath, sometimes it's extending schemas to support indexing. These are not bad things, but are solutions being born out of necessity. This is an infant market. There is no right way to do things, and so there is no one vendor doing it right, much less doing it better.

--Tom Bradford on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, October 25, 2001
Is it fair for a doctor to spend his 3-month salary on a copy of Microsoft Office? Should an artist spend a year's salary on Adobe Photoshop? No, this is wrong.

--Cheng Yi
Read the rest in China On Pirates: Blow 'Em Down

Wednesday, October 24, 2001
In 16 years as a Mac fan I've learned that it's OK to like Apple, but that one can never trust Apple.

--Adam Wildavsky on the java-dev mailing list

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

What we have enjoyed for ten years is the investment of the previous years of building and replacing nodes. We have had a free ride on every university that put in an Internet node and allowed all of the Internet traffic to cross it unimpeded by inspection or tariff. It has been an Internet of open borders given the natural wealth of each territory and its ability to sustain the open traffic. But the costs to improve that traffic, to offer more services to the travelers, are mounting and are being met by deficits. That is a recipe for stagnation at best, and collapse at worst.

Unless we are willing to nationalize these assets, or regulate them as public utilities, the privatization of the assets continues unhindered. The W3C isn't bad; it is too weak to forestall this rather predictable and necessary seachange. Because it attempts to be a hegemony, and because the realization of its vulnerability comes late to that organization, it is unlikely to withstand these pressures for long if at all and its role has to be examined from the perspective of what it can do successfully. As a technology incubator, it is successful. As an enforcement agency for member behavior, it is devastatingly underpowered.

--Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, October 22, 2001
Those who can, do; those who can't, sue.

--Michael Swaine
Read the rest in WebReview.com: April 27, 2001: Swaine's Frames: IPgrams for New Cynics

Sunday, October 21, 2001

While I think that powerful and expressive schema languages are a progress, I also think that imposing them would be a regression.

Schema languages are not that new and I am still thinking that one of the main progresses of XML over SGML is that DTDs are no longer mandatory!

And I think that it's important to make sure we can continue to perform XSLT transformations without defining first a schema.

--Eric van der Vlist on the xsl-list@lists.mulberrytech.com mailing list

Saturday, October 20, 2001

I [speaking for myself, not my long-suffering employer, blah blah] would also submit that it is the DUTY of vendors in a fast-moving technology field to attempt to get real-world experience with desireable features (such as the ability to do full-text searching within XML elements) before proposing them for standardization. Standards are best when based on the intersection of field-tested technologies rather than the union of plausible technologies. &myusualrant;

"Embrace and extend" got a bad name because a certain large company was accused of trying to addict its customers to extensions that were simply different or more convenient ways of doing what could be done perfectly well within the standards. Offering customer-demanded extensions to fill obvious gaps in the standards is another thing entirely, ESPECIALLY if that knowledge is fed back to the standards keepers.

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, October 19, 2001
The highly focused professionals and academics who are creating these specs have completely lost site of the fact that at the end of the day, it's your users who will judge you, and not your peers. Personally, I don't give a crap how my peers judge me.

--Tom Bradford on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, October 18, 2001
I still can't help feeling that the real heart of the problem is the PSVI. Because Schemas support the notion of a PSVI that includes "types" (sorry for use of that word), developers want to leverage that info. But that info is not in the instance document, and is not normally accessible to applications because prevailing schema processors just use the info for validation. The info is locked away in a black box.

--Michael Brennan on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, October 17, 2001
Imagine if we built physical stores the same way we implement e-commerce sites: You couldn't just call up the local mall and sign a lease on the number of square feet you want. Instead, you'd have to go out and dig mud and bake bricks. You could then use the bricks to build your store, but if you wanted electricity installed, you'd first have to go to the copper mine and get some metal for the wires. And, you'd have to connect the wires to a generator in the back yard, not to the power grid. Not much business would get done under these conditions. Traditionally, each company has had to design and implement all of the services it wanted to offer its website users. This approach leads to incredible waste, unprofitable websites, and lowered usability

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in End of Homemade Websites (Alertbox Oct. 2001)

Tuesday, October 16, 2001
It is probably time for some to face up to the reality of what a technical consortium is: you pay fees to be a member and in accordance with the rules of the consortium, attempt to influence the consortia process to the benefit of your business. Did anyone really buy into the Moral Majesty argument? Do you really think that business goals and means change simply because of Berners-Lee's reputation?

--Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, October 15, 2001
those standards which have to live in the space where you might have to pay a toll to use them are precisely those which W3C should stay away from. Yes they exist - e.g. the IEEE standardizes lots of things which you have to pay patents to use - but the reason the Web is interesting is that anyone can play without having to pay for permission. I'm not interested in playing RAND games. I'm not interested in a Web where Open-Source efforts are second-class citizens.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, October 14, 2001
FOP just isn't robust enough for complex documents yet.

--Norman Walsh on the docbook-apps mailing list

Saturday, October 13, 2001
We might recall the early days of the WWW when the web was in competition with something called "gopher", anyone remember gopher? If not there is a reason: When the WWW was just starting, gopher was significantly more popular and then the University of Michigan asserted its intellectual property rights on gopher indicating that it was to retain the future right to license its use (or something to that effect). Blink. Gopher died, and largely forgotten. At the same time lynx and mosaic were being freely distributed, and these days Sun is having a really hard time giving Solaris away for free.

--Jonathan Borden on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, October 12, 2001
The only normative definition of XML is syntactical. The only normative definition of namespaces is syntactical. These definitions are implemented by tons of interoperable software. The Infoset, simply because it has come after XSLT and XPath and DOM and SAX chronologically, is an afterthought. The PSVI is an elaboration of that afterthought. Working programmers are generating XML with various flavors of print() statement and reading it through a variety of interfaces (including Notepad :)) and not apparently having too much difficulty.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, October 11, 2001
You can write code that operates on any XML document, the proof is XML tools, but as soon as your code requires a semantic interpretation of an XML document, it has to follow a implicit or explicit schema

--Nicolas Lehuen on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, October 10, 2001
It is very typical for an XML application to want to associate certain metadata with XML information items to suit certain processing needs. One can easily envision different metadata vocabularies to suit different domains. None of these are inherent in the instance itself. None of the processing done with the instance and associated metadata is a realization of the instance's true form. The only true form of the document is that which is in the instance itself, and that's just a bunch of text and pointy brackets.

--Michael Brennan on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, October 9, 2001
a sure sign of the decline of a civilization is when they start to build walls to keep out the pagan hordes. Patents and copyrights are walls. Once a company resorts to lawsuits to keep out competition, its days are numbered. It ceases to see continued innovation as essential to survival.

--Jeff Lowery on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, October 8, 2001

the W3C should adopt a policy of involving itself only with RF patents, recognize that this is difficult and complicated, and just deal with it. Tools that are available to achieve this goal include:

  • requiring diligent search and disclosure from all members, not just those who participate in particular WGs, for IP that may stand in the way of some task or another
  • where such IP exists and the holder isn't willing to grant RF, changing the standard to work around the IP
  • use of the bully pulpit and any other leverage the W3C can bring to bear to make it very painful for anyone who tries to set up a tollbooth on W3C output
  • declining to enter standardization activities where it appears that RF status can't be achieved

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, October 7, 2001
As for the division between XPath and XSLT, I think the best way of rationalising the split is that XPath is for selecting information from the source document, XSLT is for constructing the result document. It should never be necessary to use multiple instructions at the XSLT level in order to extract a single piece of information from the source document.

--Michael Kay on the xsl-list mailing list

Saturday, October 6, 2001
A patent-encumbered web threatens the very freedom of intellectual debate, allowing only large companies and big media houses to present information in certain ways. Imagine where the web would be now if only large companies were able to use image files

--Alan Cox
Read the rest in The Register

Friday, October 5, 2001
Agreement on royalty-free standards does not end this discussion. The licensing of patents embedded in standards must be compatible with the GPL license that is applied to the Linux operating system kernel, the MIT-derived license that is applied to the Apache web server, and a number of other software licenses. Because of the many thousands of copyright holders who have already contributed to existing products under those licenses, those software licenses can not be changed - the patent licensing mandated by W3C standards must accommodate them.

--Bruce Perens
Read the rest in HP Supports Royalty Free Standards for Web Infrastructure

Thursday, October 4, 2001
You may remember the dark days of 1995 when, "Well, it works on my browser!" was a typical Web "designer's" response to problem reports. Netscape and Microsoft both claimed to be tired of playing this game, where a bug on one system had to be faithfully duplicated on the other, so that "working" documents would continue to work. XML was expressly designed to fail if non-compliant so that everyone would know that the document was bad.

--Christopher R. Maden on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, October 2, 2001

you can re-use data for purposes other than those envisioned by its creator. This is why, in the document space, XML is an unqualifiedly better storage format than MS Word, Frame, PDF, or any other proprietary binary display-oriented format. A lot of the XML-as-serialized-objects people probably don't care that much about this, but I think they're missing an important boat. Computers are important because they are *general-purpose* machines, and to the extent that you can make data general-purpose as well, you win.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, October 1, 2001
I am not usually a big Microsoft fan. But I have openly lauded their efforts at standards compliance since Jean joined the SGML ERB. Oh, my friends mocked me - they said it wouldn't last. "Embrace and extend - it'll all end in tears, you'll see." But I was young and foolish, those dozens of Internet years ago. Now I see their wisdom, alas, too late.

--Christopher R. Maden on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, September 30, 2001
this privacy you're concerned about is largely an illusion. All you have to give up is your illusions, not any of your privacy. Right now, you can go onto the Internet and get a credit report about your neighbor and find out where your neighbor works, how much they earn and if they had a late mortgage payment and tons of other information.

--Larry Ellison, CEO Oracle
Read the rest in Oracle boss urges national ID cards, offers free software (9/22/2001)

Saturday, September 29, 2001
I'd rather see secured cockpits (as found in many nations) than the illusion that more and better ways to spy on non-criminals could prevent criminals from taking over planes.

--David Brownell on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, September 28, 2001
The W3C succeeded based on stretching the facts about what they could do and what was reasonable to do. The web zealots publicly beat the hell out of the organizations and reputations of those who did have the right approach to standard infrastructure building in a way reminiscent of the mobs that burned the library of Alexandria. The damage was enormous and the results not nearly as good as promised. The dot.bomb removed most of their credibility in the investment world. Now it is "build it, demo it, market like hell, and maybe they will come" which is precisely the world before the W3C. Organizations don't matter as much as utility and perceptions of utility.

-- Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, September 27, 2001

By forcing SGML and almost every other data language of note to the sidelines, by setting up an addressing system that ties all information to the systemic definitions, by insisting to the world that one group has a "moral" hegemony for Internet content and the specification of the systems by which it is obtained, the webHeads got the focus they were after. Now they can't live in the spotlight.

What does that mean? It means that almost every effort to use hypermedia theory and develop hypermedia applications became focused on exactly one medium, one organization, and to the eternal consternation of the markup specialists, one subset of SGML. All of the decades of research, researchers and resources are trying to pour themselves into one mold through one spec. Meanwhile, Berners-Lee and some of the core W3C architecture experts are squeezing out a backdoor called the Semantic Web with RDF, Notation 3, etc. leaving all the refugees they created behind in the somewhat squalid situation you have now.

--Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, September 26, 2001
I estimate using JDOM rather than DOM has saved me at least 3 months work.

--Sasha Bilton on the jdom-interest mailing list

Tuesday, September 25, 2001
iPaq is now the mobile device of choice and was the platform for almost all new services. Last year, most start-ups based their systems on WAP phones, but virtually all presenters now see WAP as a doomed technology. Think of the hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been saved last year if the VCs had bothered running a WAP usability study.

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in Mobile Devices Will Soon Be Useful

Monday, September 24, 2001
It is clearly the W3C's hope that SVG will supplant Macromedia's Flash to a certain extent, bringing as it does the benefits of integration with the emerging XML infrastructure both in browsers and on the server side, and of course the open process of a W3C-fostered specification.

--Edd Dumbill
Read the rest in XML.com: Picture Perfect [Sep. 12, 2001]

Sunday, September 16, 2001
Sometimes you have to take the hit on the chin and say to your customers "This is a bug. We know you may have stored data in form X (and here is a tool to help _filter_ the problematic data for you before you deliver it to a client if you absolutely cannot repair your database), but it has to be changed because that behavior was a bug and your XML _will not_ interoperate with other people if it is not fixed now. And the more data you store like this the worse it will get."

--Benjamin Franz on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, September 15, 2001
The tags in DocBook are designed so that you think about what you are writing, the actual content of your document, and not so much about what your document will look like in the end when you're done. If you're concerned about that, customize the stylesheets so that your document looks the way you want it to look, or use a formatting markup language directly. To do otherwise is to waste the rich semantic and structural information that DocBook allows you to encode into your document.

--Rafael 'Dido' Sevilla on the DocBook Apps Mailing List

Friday, September 14, 2001
there is nothing in XSLT 1.0 that prevents a sequence of instructions being executed in parallel. Occasionally the spec slips into describing the semantics as if exeution is sequential, but the language has been carefully designed so that the effect of an instruction never depends on the effect of a preceding instruction. The only "fly in the ointment" is extension functions with side-effects.

--Michael Kay on the xsl-list mailing list

Thursday, September 13, 2001
Using words like "XML" and "WebDAV" for marketing hype seems to be popular, actually *implementing* them seems not.

--Julian Reschke on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, September 12, 2001
While these are acts of barbarians and are despicable....let's us never lose our trust in the decency and humanity of human beings around the world. Fundamentally, at our deepest core, we are all brothers and sisters and the goodness and decency of all us will prevail.

--Rachel Foerster on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, September 11, 2001
We are all angry, confused, scared and grieving. But New Yorkers look after each other in hard times. But more than just protecting ourselves physically we all need to keep our heads to avoid a political or economic meltdown. It would be the deepest tragedy if we signed away our civil liberties in our fervor to take vengeance on a shadowy terrorist enemy. The promise and priveleges of a democratic society are our greatest treasures. If we allow terrorists to take these things away from us the they have truly dealt us a death blow.

--Jonathan Kopp on the WWWAC mailing list

Monday, September 10, 2001

I'm starting to wonder if this isn't just another example of MS's infamous 'Embrace and Extinguish' policy in operation. XML works well (by *design*) on any OS and any computer language. It is open and available to all comers. It is being extremely successful in creating services that are not tied to any one platform. 'MSIE-XML' only works on Microsoft's software platforms but is trumpeted (at least in all the places the consumer is likely to see) as XML.

The _specific_ reason the XML specification says 'scream and die' on parse failures is *because of* Netscape's and Microsoft's web browsers being 'liberal' in 'parsing' HTML. One of the explict _goals_ of 'scream and die' was to prevent that from happening, again, in the browsers. For Microsoft to now say 'But MSIE isn't an XML parser (it just quacks like one most of the time)' as justification for breaking that _specific_ goal of XML is dis-ingenuous at best.

--Benjamin Franz on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, September 9, 2001

The IE5 "XSL" isn't really a good implementation of the December '98 WD It has lots of extensions and the documentation makes no distinction between what is in the draft and what isn't, but that's really only a small point, what they really did wrong was take a draft that said

The XSL Working Group will not allow early implementation to constrain its ability to make changes to this specification prior to final release. It is inappropriate to use W3C Working Drafts as reference material or to cite them as other than "work in progress".

and take that as the basis for a production release of what is probably the most widely distributed piece of software on the planet: their web browser which rather famously is/was deeply integrated with the entire windows OS.

By doing that they were guaranteeing future confusion over the version they'd released and they knew they were going to have to support and the final version of the language which they knew would be different.

Even now Microsoft documentation insists on calling this language "XSL" to avoid them admitting they made a mistake, and to prolong the confusion.

--David Carlisle on the xsl-list mailing list

Saturday, September 8, 2001
I have a problem with specs that keep churning on the basics and never settle down long enough for the tool vendors to get the tools stable enough for the rest of us to make money. Internet time is a myth. Internet business failure is not.

--Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, September 7, 2001
It is a best practice to design document schemas so that the structure of the resulting documents is evident from inspection of the documents themselves without requiring reference of the schema itself. (as much as is reasonably possible). For example HTML processors are perfectly capable of processing HTML documents -- without reading the HTML DTD each and every time the document is parsed --. Schemas can be incredibly useful, particularly during the software development phase i.e. assisting with the automatic generation of user interfaces, storage and indexing of documents in databases, debugging, etc. but still, it is a best practice not to needlessly rely on a scheme at every step in a production system.

--Jonathan Borden on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, September 6, 2001
IE6 is fatally broken as an XML system.

--David Carlisle on the xsl-list mailing list

Wednesday, September 5, 2001
No one should mistake a topic map (for example) for the truth. All topic maps represent the opinions of their authors, and, inevitably, their world-views, as well. Opinions differ, and world-views conflict, even among reasonable people. Reasonable people, even in their everyday thinking, must make a distinction between (a) reality and (b) what people (including themselves) say about reality.

--Steven R. Newcomb on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, September 4, 2001
If we can keep Web services as simple as the Web, we'll have done very well.

--Tim Berners-Lee, Software Development 2001 keynote

Monday, September 3, 2001
the Hippocratic oath of the specification designer - when in doubt, try to pick the solution which leaves the most possibilities for later, better informed, evolution (this oath was obviously never administered to the Schema WG).

--Matthew Fuchs on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, September 2, 2001
Everything is *about* something else, including markup and namespaces. If something wasn't about something else, it would have no reason to exist. Markup and namespaces are *about* labeling things, but so are many other formats, so XML has to be *about* something more than that in order to justify its existence. What it's about is becoming more lost in the sh*t pile as time passes.

--Tom Bradford on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, September 1, 2001
I suspect that XML-RPC handles 75-90% of what people have been doing using HTTP and CGI for program-to-program communication forever. I have a hard time seeing SOAP / UDDI / WSDL doing much to improve on "URLs from Hell" (or URIs) as far as an orderly manner is concerned.

--Simon St.Laurent on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, August 31, 2001
It is a plain fact that the vast majority of major XML parsers as well as significant XML related specifications such as XSLT, XHTML, XLink, XSD, RELAXNG, Schematron etc. are XML Namespace aware. Love em or hate em XML Namespaces are here to stay and we are best to define namespace best practices.

--Jonathan Borden on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, August 30, 2001
Markup isn't *about* anything. Namespaces aren't *about* anything. They are labels. They provide part of the infrastructure you need to build edifices of schemaware and displayware and ebizware and so on.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, August 29, 2001
Emacs/PSGML is one of the best tools for editing XML (DocBook or otherwise). In fact, I never use anything else.

--Norman Walsh on the docbook-apps mailing list

Friday, August 24, 2001
of all of the things the W3C has given us, the DOM is probably the one with the least value.

--Michael Brennan on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, August 23, 2001
You can see XML-RPC/SOAP and hangers-on as an RPC facility that is unusually transparent - in that you can see how it all works and implement it yourself without recourse to complex libraries beyond an XML parser - and at the same time unusually opaque - in that you really aren't going to break things by changing from a little-endian to a big-endian architecture, or from Win2K to Solaris, or whatever. These are probably good things in an RPC facility.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, August 22, 2001
the internet mania may have been fueled by hype and greed, but it was built on the solid foundation of 20 years experience with the internet itself, 10+ years of experience with SGML, several years experience with HTTP/HTML, and a hard core of people who had been using the basic technologies in academic/military/research settings for some years. The W3C looked awesome a few years ago when it could tap all that experience ... but we've pretty much used up the intellectual capital that funded its early successes. Trying to re-create the magic by using the labor of huge working groups and massive PR campaigns won't create a solid technological foundation ...only experience can create it ... and the best way to gain the experience is the incremental "what's the simplest thing we can do next that meets the most important needs" approach. The hype giveth a demand for XML products and skills, but the hype taketh away when irrational expectations are not fufilled.

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, August 21, 2001
having been such a vociferous proponent of one side of this issue, I'll start by saying this was one of the most, if not the most, contentious issue(s) in the development of XML Schema. As a committee, we then chose the technically brilliant strategy of giving both sides what they wanted. As we can see, this remarkably improved XML Schema because, in retrospect, both sides were out to lunch.

--Matthew Fuchs on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, August 20, 2001
the Web Services hype outstrips plausible reality by a wide margin; none of the "opera loving car" keynotes mention the little detail that the intrinsically greater latency, insecurity, and unreliability of the internet requires applications that employ Web Services to be designed much differently than LAN-oriented DCOM/CORBA apps are designed... and (potentially?) giving a new generation of script kiddies a simple way through all the world's firewalls scares hell out of me.

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, August 19, 2001
Being a security-conscious person, I try to stay updated with the latest service packs. Unfortunately, SP2 for IE 5.5 was a service pack with a hidden agenda. It may have had a security fix or two in it, but was also designed to remove non-Microsoft product compatibility.

--Brad Mathis
Read the rest in IE upgrade cuts off QuickTime - Tech News - CNET.com

Saturday, August 18, 2001
Our biggest concern has always been compatibility problems. We face a world where all companies use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and other Microsoft applications, so we have to have compatibility and keep up with what Microsoft does. The idea of companies moving away from Microsoft is something that may not happen in the near future, if ever, so we have to explore other areas.

--Ransom Love, CEO Caldera
Read the rest in Caldera CEO mulls unified Unix/Linux - Tech News - CNET.com

Friday, August 17, 2001
Ironically, Microsoft has a unique duty, one that they all too frequently fail to do. They DO have a monopoly on client systems, and a significant presence on server systems. Whether that monopoly is deserved or not is not an issue that's relevant to this list. What is relevant is that as a monopoly they also are the clock that everyone else sets their watches to. If Microsoft fails to adopt a standard, then the chances that the standard will be adopted by anyone else becomes significantly more limited. they are signatories to the W3C, they are involved in all standards groups in the W3C, and so reasonably, they should provide at least basic level implementations of those specifications that are within the W3C purview that have BECOME recommendations. If they want to promulgate a superior way of doing things as well, that's great -- that's called innovation, and is something that Microsoft claims every time the government threatens to take them to task for stifling it -- but they should as responsible members of the W3C be willing to implement the basic level of support.

--Kurt Cagle on the xsl-list mailing list

Thursday, August 16, 2001
Every time I write about the impossibility of effectively protecting digital files on a general-purpose computer, I get responses from people decrying the death of copyright. "How will authors and artists get paid for their work?" they ask me. Truth be told, I don't know. I feel rather like the physicist who just explained relativity to a group of would-be interstellar travelers, only to be asked: "How do you expect us to get to the stars, then?" I'm sorry, but I don't know that, either.

--Bruce Schneier, Counterpane Internet Security
Read the rest in Crypto-Gram -- 15 August 2001

Wednesday, August 15, 2001
"Web services" is a simple concept, and its basic technological underpinnings aren't rocket science, either. This is all about applications advertising their own capabilities, searching for other applications on the web and invoking their services without prior design or negotiation. Reduced to the technological basics, it's just XML over HTTP. And the relevant specifications aren't closed either. They're Internet standards.

--Ganesh Prasad
Read the rest in Linux Today - Guest Column: Will Open Source Lose the Battle for the Web?

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Like many, I was originally dismayed by Netscape 6, both in its pre-release and "final" 6.0 forms. On both Mac and Windows, they were slow, buggy, and incomplete. But Netscape 6.1 is a different animal. Although it is nearly the same as 6.0 on the surface, so many things have been fixed and improved that it "feels" right again, and I've made it my default browser on both OSs as of yesterday.

(Netscape 6.1 reminds me much of the upcoming Mac OS X 10.1 in that sense -- now that the New Thing is out the door, the developers are concentrating on making it actually work.

--Derek K. Miller
Read the rest in MacInTouch Reader Reports: Netscape 6

Monday, August 13, 2001
People who are cracking copyright for the purpose of distributing content contrary to the legitimate control of the copyright owner or people who are cracking content for the purpose of redistributing for commercial purposes other people's content -- are criminals and they should be prosecuted as such. But you shouldn't lock up every technologist and make it impossible for them to experiment with encryption technologies merely because there are criminals out there. We don't do that with guns. I mean that's the bizarre thing, you know -- that employees at Smith & Wesson don't have to fear that the FBI is going to swoop down and arrest them because their products led to somebody being killed, yet employees of software companies need to fear that some FBI agent is going to swoop down and arrest them because it's possible that somebody used their code to steal the latest John Grisham novel.

--Lawrence Lessig
Read the rest in OpenP2P.com: The End of Innovation? [Aug. 07, 2001]

Sunday, August 12, 2001
XSLT is pretty low in the list of 'things to learn' for average engineers unlike Java, JavaScript, HTML, and XML. This means that, in most situations, there will not be anyone to maintain XSLT-based solutions.

--Don Park on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, August 11, 2001
the latest opinion from the District Court judge is so extreme that I think people are going to begin to get just how ridiculously extreme this is. You know, in that opinion, Napster had essentially said to the judge that they had found a way to make sure that 99 percent of the downloads would be essentially legal under copyright law. And the judge said, "99 percent's not enough for me. I want 100 percent," and so she basically ordered the company shut down until it could guarantee 100 percent. Now there's no technology that facilitates copying anywhere that's 100 percent effective. I mean imagine a court saying, "Xerox Corporation has to stop producing copiers until it can guarantee -- 100 percent guarantee -- that nobody will violate anybody's copyright law using a Xerox machine." But that's exactly the attitude, and it's that kind of extreme attitude that I think is most harmful to the opportunity for innovation here.

--Lawrence Lessig
Read the rest in OpenP2P.com: The End of Innovation? [Aug. 07, 2001]

Friday, August 10, 2001
Vendors did implement SGML browsers and they worked nicely, were seriously more advanced than Mosaic, etc. What they didn't do was put Internet engines under them, develop a sharable protocol, and give away product. Again, bad tactics since all three of these were suggested and in one case, IADS, the product was given away. What the Army would not do was release the source code and that was the WWW community norm at the time. Timing is everything. But the politics of the SGML companies also got in their way.

--Claude L (Len) Bullard, on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, August 9, 2001

human beings understand hierarchies better than they understand flat relatinal models. There's a lot of applications developers who refuse to touch SQL, and I can understand their reasons. But a complex OO hierarchy they're okay with.

To understand the success of XML is to understand that point, IMHO. Hierarchies organize things better for human perception, even if they're more limited (or at least awkward) in the conceptual models they can represent.

--Jeff Lowery on the sml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, August 8, 2001
I have never - outside of using other W3C technologies - had a need for namespaces and a thin layer of skin peels away from the soles of my feet every time I think about them to hard.

--Sean McGrath on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, August 7, 2001
markup isn't about meaning at all; XML just gives you a way to send a bundle of labeled strings of text, with recursion and internationalization, from point A to point B. Namespaces allow the labels to come from multiple vocabularies, and make it cheap for software to find the labeled chunks it cares about.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, August 6, 2001
XML currently suffers from the kitchen sink problem. The companies who participate in the consortia feel the need to send reps to every specification group that they think might be meaningful, and expect to see every widget they might need for their own proprietary product thrown in in exchange for their $$$ dues.

--Jonathan Borden on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, August 5, 2001
To design an easy-to-use interface, pay attention to what users do, not what they say. Self-reported claims are unreliable, as are user speculations about future behavior.

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in First Rule of Usability? Don't Listen to Users (Alertbox Aug. 2001)

Saturday, August 4, 2001
The W3C is a frat house. ISO isn't but only because government types don't do drugs.

--Claude L Bullard, on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, August 3, 2001
The reason is not technical, for Windows has become a very capable operating system, but ethical. Linux is more than enough to satisfy the government's needs. The hundreds of millions of dollars spent on software license fees leave the country, never to come back. It's the Mexican taxpayers' money, and it could be better spent on developing national industry.

--Arturo Espinosa
Read the rest in Mexican Schools Embrace Windows

Tuesday, July 31, 2001
entity processing is by far the hardest part of parsing an XML document.

--Ronald Bourret on the XML-L mailing list

Tuesday, July 31, 2001
Binary XML is a dead end, obsolete before it was even started. Please stop wasting peoples' time on it.

--Mark Hughes on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, July 29, 2001
I can't talk about the details because of the W3C creed of Omerta, but suffice it to say that the little inconsistencies between the data models of the extended XML specifications (DOM, XPath, XSL, XQuery, the PSVI, the InfoSet, ad nausem) are slowing W3C progress to a crawl. The solution of breaking a few things, radically simplifying, and starting over is not even politely listened to in W3C circles. Godfather Darwin is going to be taking XML (broadly defined) out to a landfill in 'Jersey before long. The only question in my mind is whether some other reasonably open markup language takes its place (SGML-lite? an ISO or OASIS-defined XML subset? An ad-hoc semi-standardized XML subset that everyone embraces and extends?) or whether we go back to the Bad Ol' Days of proprietary "post-XML" formats and tools.

--Michael Champion on the sml-dev mailing list

Saturday, July 28, 2001

gzip is simple, fast, ubiquitous, standard, and gives you far better compression than any binary substitution scheme ever will.

After all, gzip compresses both the tags *and* the content, and can identify repeated sequences of <tag>content</tag>. Binary encodings can only compress the tags...

--Mark Hughes on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, July 27, 2001
Depending on the data source, it is likely that SQL will be the most industrially used XML query language for some time. It has the advantage of clarity, ease, and years of experience in optimization. The XPath syntax is gnomic and prone to misinterpretation particularly when using namespaces. The bulk of data sources are relational.

--Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, July 24, 2001
With Microsoft the first hit is always free--remember that all your life. They're going to all these different Web sites and having them become .Net Web sites. They say they're not going to make any money. For now they'll not charge you for access to your Passport environment. Maybe soon they'll charge you $50. That's $50 that they're charging from you for info that they stole from you.

--Scott McNealy
Read the rest in Ballmer talks .Net; McNealy scoffs - Tech News - CNET.com

Saturday, July 21, 2001
perhaps it is time for a true markup-based browser minus the impediments of HTML bolted in support.

-- Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, July 20, 2001
we have seen a tendency of late for even intra-W3C development and communication to be insular -- making impossible or improbable the chances for success where one group has been *given* the requirement of being dependent on another group, who then chooses at will to accept or disregard the requirements of the dependent group at will, and often for less-than-technical reasons.

--Ann Navarro on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, July 18, 2001
That is the Bad Thing About XML: privatization of public assets by consortia with a follow on distortion of the perception of the need for international standards. We aren't doing ourselves or our heirs any favors with that policy or practice.

--Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, July 16, 2001
SGML preserves options using the SGML Declaration. The options have costs and require skill to handle. XML is simpler but it removes the options. In SGML, Blueberry is a non-issue for Blueberry users because the way to handle it is defined.

--Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, July 13, 2001
To anyone who is still stubborn enough to insist that BlackICE Defender is actually good for something: PLEASE do not write to me. I don't want to hear it. I'm a scientist who will not find your mystic beliefs to be compelling. I respect your right to your own opinions, no matter how blatantly they fly in the face of logic and reality. That is, after all, the nature of faith. Happy computing. I suggest prayer.

--Steve Gibson
Read the rest in The Attacks on GRC.COM

Thursday, July 12, 2001
For the long haul, SGML is a safer better bet. Safety and convenience are sometimes uncomfortable bedfellows as anyone who keeps secure data on a Palm unit they leave at the airport finds out.

--Bullard, Claude L (Len) on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, July 11, 2001
You complain about "pop-under" ads, cascading javascript pop-ups, ActiveX that snoops on you, cookies that snoop on you, and other such things. The reason you complain about them is because the manufacturer of your web browser believes it is profitable to subject you to those things. The manufacturer of my web browser is a community of software developers which does not have "profit" or "extending a monopoly" among their goals for a web browser, so my web browser protects me from all those things - the cookies, the annoying popping windows, the snooping.

--Michael Sims on the wwwac mailing list

Tuesday, July 10, 2001
Restricting names to letters and other symbols that are typically used for pronouncable, readable words in each language is not only good for catching transcoding errors (important in some places) and to allow easier use of the names as object names in scripts (where you don't want them to start with a digit), but very importantly it acts against people making random (i.e. private/proprietary) names in their DTDs as a way to capture users. They can still do it, of course, but they cannot pretend "oh, we didn't know a name should be readable so we just used UUIDs for all our names", batting their eyelids.

--Rick Jelliffe on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, July 9, 2001
I'm still unclear what use the Infoset is to anyone. It seems to be trying to describe how many angels are allowed to dance on the head of the pin.

--Peter Flynn on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, July 8, 2001
some folks are really troubled that an XML document is an object defined at the level of syntax; they feel that the data objects represented by the syntax are the important, central thing, and that the syntax is an ephemeral side-effect.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, July 7, 2001
Where exactly in XML 1.0 is the distinction between logical and lexical information drawn? I don't believe it really is, except as an unfortunate side-effect of describing parsing in the same document which describes syntax. I can't say I trust anyone who talks about _the_ logical view of an XML document - I don't believe any such thing exists in a general way.

--Simon St.Laurent on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, July 6, 2001
Together, we built a highway that everyone could travel, and Microsoft put up a tollbooth.

--Philip Gerskovich, Kodak
Read the rest in News: Kodak tangles with Microsoft over Win XP

Thursday, July 5, 2001
The threat represented by Microsoft's forthcoming Windows XP operating system, with its confirmed ability to easily generate malicious Internet traffic -- for NO good reason -- can not be overstated. The proper executives within Microsoft MUST be reached with this message so that those plans can be reviewed in light of the potential for their system's massive abuse of the inherently trusting Internet.

--Steve Gibson
Read the rest in The Attacks on GRC.COM

Wednesday, July 4, 2001
I'm guessing, but I suspect the reason there is no built-in XPath function to retrieve the base URI of a node is that at the time the spec came out, there was still a great deal of debate going on within W3C about the precise definition of base URI within the InfoSet, so the XSLT/XPath authors decided it was best to steer clear of the rocks.

--Michael Kay on the xsl-list mailing list

Tuesday, July 3, 2001
I regret my silence when scripting was being added to eMail. It was the dumbest thing I had ever seen, but I didn't care since I use Eudora. So I didn't work to make the world take notice. Now eMail viruses are born daily to travel the Internet at light speed. And it could have -- should have -- been prevented.

--Steve Gibson
Read the rest in Denial of Service with Windows XP

Sunday, July 1, 2001
I think calling XML a tree is oversimplification. The web is a graph. XML is the web made just a bit less sloppy, but we still have key/keyref and XLink, XPointer, RDF -- all that stuff John mentions. Take the graph that is the web and make it more machine-readable. Take all of the services and data in silos at the edges of the web and expose it as XML documents (as appropriate of course). Now you have one big huge honkin' graph. What is more fun that that?

--Joshua Allen on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, June 30, 2001
XML has benefitted from the open source movement in terms of making tools available -- the price tags on SGML stuff was horrendous.

--Rod Davison on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, June 29, 2001
There's a perceived (and, to my mind, false) dichotomy between "documents" and "data". All documents are data; all data can be expressed as documents. The main difference is between regular, or repetitive data, and irregular data. Many tools are useful for both domains.

--Christopher R. Maden on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, June 28, 2001
the .NET Framework SDK which just released Beta 2 for download on MSDN, should eventually (sooner rather than later) replace MSXML as the start of the food chain. This .NET SDK is what was formerly known as the Universal Runtime (URT) and is the underlying class library for pretty much any .NET (managed/common language runtime) code. The System.Xml classes reside in System.Xml.Dll and have managed code implementations of XML manipulation APIs, XSD, etc. I'm only pointing this out because many people are unaware that there is a managed-code XML parser kit similar to MSXML, and much internal MS development has switched to using these classes. This is not to say that MSXML is dead; it is just to say that the System.Xml classes will be an increasingly large part of the foodchain as time goes on.

--Joshua Allen, Microsoft, on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, June 27, 2001
Total buy-in to XML makes perfect sense as the real lock-in potential is further up the food chain. I am seeing a worrying amount of glib "We use XML therefore ZZZ is an open, standards compliant system" from vendors.

--Sean McGrath on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, June 26, 2001

why not use the BSD license instead of the GPL? Because the GPL gives me no defense against parasitism. If somebody wants to take my work and return nothing to the community, under the BSD license they would be free to do so, and would be able to treat me as a sort of unpaid employee. There's no quid-pro-quo there - I'd feel like a dupe.

But there are places where that lack of a quid-pro-quo is appropriate. For example, I might choose to use the BSD license in software that is part of a standard that I'd like to be industry-wide, and thus I'd want it to be part of someone else's proprietary software. This is the strategy used by the new Ogg Vorbis sound standard that could replace MP3 - it's patent-and-royalty-free, BSD licensed.

But most of the time, I want that quid-pro-quo, I don't want my software to be Embraced and Enhanced by Microsoft, and thus I use the GPL. If Microsoft or some other commercial user wants my software badly enough, they can call me up and negotiate a commercial license.

--Bruce Perens
Read the rest in SV.com Roundtables

Sunday, June 24, 2001

The problem with TeX and troff is that you're trying to use one language to do three rather different things. You're using it to mark up your documents, like XML; you're using it as a style language, like CSS or XSL; and you're using it to write programs to do the formatting. Using one language for all three separate requirements makes it suboptimal for all of them, in my view.

It's suboptimal for markup because, if you have a document written in TeX or troff, it's very hard to do anything with it other than run it through TeX or troff, so that limits reuse.

It's suboptimal for writing formatting programs because it got this bizarre syntax with backslashes all over the place, which makes the whole thing unreadable. And it's not a real programming language. One lesson I drew from TeX and groff is that you want a real programming language, not a macro processing language. When you look at the thousands of lines of TeX macros or troff macros that people produce, it's a monument to the human intellect, but it's not really the right way to solve the problem.

--James Clark
Read the rest in Jul01: A Triumph of Simplicity: James Clark on Markup Languages and XML

Saturday, June 23, 2001
XML is not a miracle. It was the selling of SGML to those who didn't like SGML because those who sold it to them told them not to, thus neatly enabling a private consortium to take control of the intellectual property of the International Standards Organization and privatize the ownership of it.

-- Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, June 22, 2001
I see no justification for making a change to line-ends merely to accommodate legacy operating systems. The time to speak up on this was four years ago. If IBM is unwilling to bring its own systems into the 21st century, it cannot expect the rest of the world to repunch their cards for them.

--Peter Flynn on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, June 21, 2001

I knew how insanely complex writing an SGML parser was. SGML is really doing something very simple. It's providing a standard way to represent a tree, and your nodes have a label with names and they can have attributes. That's all it's doing. It's not a complicated concept. Yet SGML manages to make writing something that implements it into a several-man-year project.

A lot of the features do have a reasonable motivation, but when you put them all together, you just get something that's too complex. I think the complexity is misguided. It's failing to pay attention to the importance of simplicity. If a technology is too complicated, no matter how wonderful it is and how easy it makes a user's life, it won't be adopted on a wide scale.

--James Clark
Read the rest in Jul01: A Triumph of Simplicity: James Clark on Markup Languages and XML

Wednesday, June 20, 2001
The greed that drove XML into the public consciousness died with the dot.bomb at the cost of a few trillion invested and now vapor fading like the lights in a rolling blackout.

--Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev@lists.xml.org mailing list

Tuesday, June 19, 2001
It was easy for me to believe in the importance of applications and graphical user interface because of my experience at Xerox. It was amazing to see it coming from Bill with an equal intensity, when he hadn't seen all that stuff, certainly not with the same intimacy as I had. Furthermore, I realized that he actually had the wherewithal to deliver it. It was interesting to look at a company like Xerox, with a hundred thousand people and billions of dollars, and realize that the success of your project depends on having the right two people that you want to hire, who may not fit into the corporate structure. And then you realize that this single guy can hire anybody he wants to! Bill just said, hire two people, or hire five people. What do you need? Do you need rooms? Do you need chairs? Yeah! We can do that. Computers? Yes. You need this, you need that. Sure. We were talking about only a few hundred thousand dollars which could make a difference, we weren't talking about a billion.

--Charles Simonyi
Read the rest in EDGE Digerati: The WYSIWYG - Charles Simonyi [page 4]

Monday, June 18, 2001
You can teach XML 1.0 in about half a day. The rest can take three semesters and then a year of practice. Once out of the simple instance, XML specs specify a system. Taken in totality, XML is now much harder then SGML and throwing the combined specs onto a floor would kill the first three rows of the audience.

--Claude L (Len) Bullard, on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, June 16, 2001
I recommended to my partners that we go Windows-only in 1996. Why? Because by giving up Macs, I told them, we wouldn't spend time integrating all our different computers and could instead use computers to our advantage. Boy, was I wrong: It is as hard to maintain and integrate Windows computers as it is to integrate multiple kinds of computer systems.

--Stewart Alsop
Read the rest in Fortune.com

Friday, June 15, 2001
XML isn't magic. It is a computer science. Getting people to agree to use the agreements, that's magick.

--Claude L (Len) Bullard on the XML-Dev mailing list

Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Suppose, for example, that Microsoft would like to be able to impose copyright on languages and network protocols. They could approach a small, poor country and offer to spend $50 million a year there for 20 years, if only that country will pass a law saying that implementing a Microsoft language or protocol constitutes copyright infringement. They can surely find some country which would take the offer. Then if you implement a compatible program, Microsoft could sue you in that country, and win. When the judge rules in their favor and bans distribution of your program, the courts in your country will enforce the judgment on you, obeying the Hague treaty.

Does this seem implausible? In 2000, Cisco pressured Liechtenstein, a small European country, to legalize software patents. And IBM's chief lobbyist threatened many European governments with a termination of investment if they did not support software patents. Meanwhile, the U.S. trade representative pressured Middle Eastern country Jordan to allow patents on mathematics.

--Richard M. Stallman
Read the rest in Harm from the Hague - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Tuesday, June 12, 2001
Forcing users to browse PDF files makes usability approximately 300% worse compared to HTML pages. You should only use PDF for documents that users are likely to print.

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in PDF - Avoid for On-Screen Reading (Alertbox June 2001)

Monday, June 11, 2001
Big business is hijacking the Internet. We're creating new tollbooths on our systems.

--Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy
Read the rest in Gated communities on the horizon - Tech News - CNET.com

Sunday, June 10, 2001
My view is that no company can both sell the software that handles the global registry and sell the service too. That isn't a technical issue but something like saying a gun manufacturer can't field its own army. If the Hailstorm services depend on Microsoft owned servers, it's dead. They aren't allowed to be a troll beneath the bridge.

-- Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, June 8, 2001
*If* RDDL takes off, its role is going to be pretty damn central. Since the design of XML empirically has a bias in favor of using multiple related resources to do one job for a class of data objects, whatever's used to tie them together is important.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, June 7, 2001
Fundamentally RDF is a convention for saving a diagram as a document, or to a database. RDF describes things and relations between things. You can take any RDF document and flatten it into a single table that can be queried etc. Its the simplest 'infoset' you can imagine. It is _so_ simple it appears complicated.

--Jonathan Borden on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, June 6, 2001
AOL Time Warner and Microsoft will probably take over some 70 to 80 percent of everything--Web access, Web usage, whatever. An element people are touching on is that it's not the content that's important--it's the functionality.

--Ken Lim, Cybermedia Group
Read the rest in Gated communities on the horizon - Tech News - CNET.com

Tuesday, June 5, 2001
RDDL is a pack o' XLinks. It's a good idea and well done but not a core piece. It is an application language that one may adopt to align pieces just as one might learn Topic Maps. But learn XLinks first and then RDDL/Topic Maps. That is what I mean by moving parts. Write a RDDL if you need one. Write a Topic Map if you need one.

--Claude L Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, June 4, 2001
The real founders of XML are, more than anything, the founders of SGML, since XML is mostly SGML with the configurable bits lopped off.

--Rick Jelliffe on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, June 3, 2001

I am also happy to say publicly that Microsoft have some excellent XML tools.

Which makes it all the more disappointing that their general release browser and operating system products still contain a far-from-excellent processor for a language that is a distant cousin of XSLT, as a result of which I see a high volume of requests for help from users who have got themselves into a serious and expensive mess as a result.

--Michael Kay on the xsl-list mailing list

Saturday, June 2, 2001

XHTML 1.1 is good for people who need to write their own variants of XHTML and don't want to just edit the DTD but instead want to edit the DTD.

So it's moderately useful for: theoretical browser makers (but who?), theoretical authoring tool makers, people who develop versions of HTML for internal use in a company (presumably for good reasons), and folks who find the arbitrary decisions of XHTML 1.0/HTML 4.01 to be pointless and want to do their own spot fixes.

So basically it's not all that useful.

--Kynn Bartlett on the XHTML-L mailing list

Friday, June 1, 2001

By definition, low resolution is less clear than high resolution. Fonts at 96dpi are clearer than fonts at 72dpi. The problem with the Mac is and has been that font sizes are pixel based, which unfortunately means that higher resolution equals smaller text.

Fonts need to be scalable so that regardless of the resolution of the output device fonts appear the same size. Higher resolution should be just that -- higher clarity. The way text on a 600 dpi laser printer looks cleaner, but the exact same size, as text on a 300 dpi laser printer.

--David Spancer
Read the rest in MacInTouch Reader Reports: Display Resolution Issues

Thursday, May 31, 2001
Microsoft has come to the conclusion that its monopoly on PC operating systems is not going to be quickly transferable to other kinds of devices (such as PDAs and servers); for the next few years at least, any truly ubiquitous software will have to run on non-MS devices. This conclusion is reflected in HailStorm's embrace of SOAP and XML, allowing HailStorm to be accessed from any minimally connected device.

--Clay Shirky
Read the rest in OpenP2P.com: Hailstorm: Open Web Services Controlled by Microsoft [May. 30, 2001]

Wednesday, May 30, 2001
Here's Britain, the foundation of democracy and freedom, building its govermental infrastructure on proprietary binary-only technology from a known predatory monopolist. In a free market democracy our governmental infrastructures should be permanently open to competitive bid. You should never be locked into a single-source supplier. That's just a fundamental architectural mistake.

--Bob Young, CEO of Red Hat
Read the rest in LinuxUser - Issue 11 - microsoft.gov.ok?

Tuesday, May 29, 2001

With the advent of Quartz, Apple is finally in a position to offer the most significant visual upgrade since they began supporting MultiSync color monitors -- fully scalable on-screen EVERYTHING!

More PPI in a display is GOOD! Or it would be, if only I could tell the system two things: the pixel dimensions of the display and the physical dimensions of the display. Quartz should be perfectly capable of scaling everything on-screen to WYSIWYG sizes (or whatever multiple or fraction thereof the user chooses), and displaying at the best resolution the display is capable of.

100 PPI? Fooey. Give me more! 300PPI! (or 600, or 1200, or...). I want to be able to set my video card to display as many pixels as it and my monitor can handle... SO I SEE TEXT WITH FEWER JAGGIES! My aging eyes would really appreciate it.

--Dean F. Sutherland
Read the rest in MacInTouch Reader Reports: Display Resolution Issues

Monday, May 28, 2001
XML standardizes a syntax for labelled nested structures holding textual content. For a lot of us, that's all the standardization that is presently appropriate. I'd like to have a chance to work on that level before we start declaring that piles more standards are necessary to get real work done.

--Simon St.Laurent on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, May 26, 2001
XML is a great leap forward from OO, precisely because XML is text. An XML instance--the most concrete realization for which XML itself provides--is still amorphous, even abstract, with regard to the physical instantiation which it will be given by a process. Put differently, the data structure exhibited by an XML instance is still capable of sufficiently variable realization in process as to bridge the lack of shared data definition between the autonomous nodes of the internetwork topology.

--W. E. Perry on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, May 25, 2001
Is XML post-OO? No. It is pre-LISP.

--Claude L (Len) Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, May 24, 2001
XML is just smart ASCII.

--Claude L Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, May 23, 2001
The success of XML does point to one fact that more sensible developers have known all along: OO is not a panacea, and does not solve every problem. OO just happens to be the best paradigm for software development that anyone has come up with, so far. XML hasn't changed that. But OO does not address the situation very well in which information needs to be external to an application and shared with other applications (which may run on a different platform, use a different programming language, have different runtime libraries available, etc.). It also does not deal, very well, with more dynamic information models that are not very explicitly defined at development time. XML is very useful for these sorts of thing. OO is still very useful as a programming paradigm for dealing with XML, but when information needs to be shared, it is important to factor out that information model from the OO model that is specific to your own use of that information.

--Michael Brennan on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, May 21, 2001
What - you're surprised we're slipping? This is software, not the atomic time clock... 8-)

--Shane Curcuru on the xalan-dev mailing list

Saturday, May 19, 2001
There were lots of styles of mixed content that looked good on paper, but did face-plants when implemented in live systems. The particular style of mixed content that's allowed in XML turned out to be the only reliable one.

--Eric Bohlman on the XML-L mailing list

Friday, May 18, 2001
Avoiding mixed content might make life simpler, but so would eating nothing but sardines. Mixed content is very necessary in real-world applications, at any rate those dealing with textual data.

--Wendell Piez on the XML-L mailing list

Wednesday, May 16, 2001
When it was suggested early in the XML rhubarb that DTDs would go away, (well-formed only), I laughed. It removes the biggest advantage of SGML: standard vocabularies for focused domains, the easy means to annotate a text with inline metainformation for interpretation. Now people are defending DTDs against the next new thing and so it goes, but the principle remains: once you get beyond a simple message, well-formedness isn't enough. You need the metadata to get around the outrageous and inefficient noise reduction techniques of open text searching.

--Claude L Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, May 14, 2001
Search is the user's lifeline for mastering complex websites. The best designs offer a simple search box on the home page and play down advanced search and scoping

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in Search: Visible and Simple (Alertbox May 2001)

Sunday, May 13, 2001
Despite vendor assurances, it seems plain that the race to compete on implementation puts the viability of multivendor institutions like OASIS at risk. The increased rivalry cannot but help spill over into these environments. One example is the size of the newly formed XML Protocol working group at the W3C. With over forty participants, the size of the Protocol WG exceeds even that of last years' political football, the Schema WG. Everybody wants in, and the most likely victim will be the protocol specification itself.

--Edd Dumbill
Read the rest in XML.com: XML Hype Down But Not Out In New York [Apr. 11, 2001]

Saturday, May 12, 2001
What is RDDL really? It's a catalog XML-Dev built so a namespace reference could be resolved a year after "reasonable minds" blessed non-resolution while "experienced minds" sighed and said, "that won't hold". They declare a minimal victory, confuse the hell out of the world, then come back a year later, wave their hands over it and say, "RDDL me this."

--Claude L Bullard, on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, May 10, 2001
DTDs do not, and cannot, support namespaces in their full generality. By that I meant that you cannot write a DTD for a namespace or set of namespaces which will correctly distinguish document instances legal under the namespace rules and which follow the rules for each namespace from document instances which don't do so.

--C. M. Sperberg-McQueen on the xxml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, May 9, 2001

XML 1.0 removed syntactic diversity, letting us use each others's tools and share information without worrying about byte-level issues, much as TCP/IP provides a foundation on which other network applications can build.

On the vocabulary and meaning levels, however, I'd suggest that it does the reverse. While some see standardization of those levels as the next big task of XML, I think there's a much more exciting opportunity for programmers and users to represent information in the forms they find most convenient to their particular circumstances.

That would mean an explosion of diversity (vocabularies) in a much smaller set of circumstances (as XML replaces thousands of other possible base formats).

--Simon St.Laurent on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, May 8, 2001
The CSS support of even simple things when you use XML as XML is pretty appalling.

--Andrew Watt on the XHTML-L mailing list

Sunday, May 6, 2001
there are no secrets or conspiracies. But there are a lot of mailing list archives, meeting minutes,etc available to any W3C members that MAY contain bits of information critical to "correct" implementation that never got written down in the spec. I'm remembering four years of working on the DOM WG -- this stuff happens, and you only learn about it when someone tries a "clean room" implementation from the spec and nothing but the spec. Goodwill and hard work aren't enough ... some things also require time before you can KNOW that the spec contains all the information needed to implement in an interoperable way.

--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, May 5, 2001
After the decision that all three HTML DTDs (and the corresponding schemas) share the same namespace, I think we can safely say: it is *definitively* a mistake to imagine that there will be exactly one schema (in the sense: one set of declarations) for any namespace name.

--C. M. Sperberg-McQueen on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, May 4, 2001
XML is SGML as practiced. I think it had something to do with the W3C running the show instead of ISO.

--Claude L Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, May 3, 2001
XML has terrific potential, most of which is unlikely to be realized because of complexity, awkwardness, and the inherent unreliability of the institutions upon which XML will be applied. But this doesn't mean XML is not worth doing, just that the dividends from Ballmer's XML Revolution are likely to be modest. It will work best in tightly-defined and constrained applications where it is in the interest of all parties for the system to work.

--Robert X. Cringely
Read the rest in I, Cringely | The Pulpit

Tuesday, May 1, 2001
I wouldn't say that W3C XML Schema cannot support document centric applications, but rather that it's not a good fit since its features are biased toward data applications.

--Eric van der Vlist on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, April 30, 2001

There are a few problems with frames -- but most of these have been overcome and frames aren't really all -that- bad these days. The worst I can say about properly done frames, from an accessibility point of view, is that that they are very strongly a _graphical_ metaphor and that's difficult translate well for non-graphical users. But that can apply to nearly anything on the web that's graphical in nature, such as using tables to lay out a page.

The problem isn't really frames, it's poorly done frames.

--Kynn Bartlett on the XHTML-L mailing list

Saturday, April 28, 2001
the defects of W3C XML Schema will be perceived by most as defects of XML.

--Eric van der Vlist on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, April 27, 2001
We have a way in XML to express compound objects -- it's called elements-and-attributes. The mistake, in my opinion, was giving in to the SQL people and having _any_ kind of date or time as simple types -- they should _all_ have gone in to the type library as complex types.

--Henry S. Thompson on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, April 26, 2001

People kicked DTDs in the head for two decades. They have never died. People lauded various open document standards for most of that period which were ostensibly techically superior and now hydrogen can't float them. Other languages like VRML, touted widely as dead, going nowhere, cling tenaciously to the niche and will not be extinguished, in fact, have spawned competitive children (X3D, XMT, RM3D) that will interoperate.

Give XML Schema a year. If the market adopts it, there is no cause to complain. If the market doesn't, there is no need.

--Claude L Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, April 25, 2001

The real danger is in assuming, and having specifications assume, that validation will be part of normal processing. For example, if XPath 2.0 is expanded to include operations that require a validated instance, there will be interoperability issues: if I send an XML instance and an XSL stylesheet to different processors, the might produce different results. XPath is already very close to being too heavyweight.

A good example of the issues can already be seen in the differences in documents parsed with and without DTD's. If validation with XSchema or any other tool results in an infoset with many "optional" peices, and specs are built on that infoset, there *will* be issues.

--Gavin Thomas Nicol on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, April 24, 2001
At the risk of violating the dreaded W3C Omerta oath ... looking at the official "votes" on Schema, I don't see a lot of evidence that most W3C members took a terribly close look at it and weighed the costs and benefits; they figure that the world needs a Schema spec, so they ASSUME that what the Working Group came up with is a Good Thing.

--Michael Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, April 23, 2001
I think the semantic web is an excellent idea, but it's not something that most humans should be involved with or get excited about. It's like saying that I think that clean drinkable water distribution is an excellent idea - but I hardly know anything about how it's done, I just turn the tap on, same as anyone else.

--Ian Tindale on the XHTML-L mailing list

Saturday, April 21, 2001

In a short lifecycle message format (system outlasts or is more pervasive than data) where you can either throw it away or archive it, one gets back to form, fit and function debates. SGML wasn't used for protocols, so maybe this is a new wrinkle, but I suggest it is more related to archival so in that sense, the same advantages: recoverability and reusability. Addressing INTO a binary requires some tricks not used a lot since HyTime unless one is mapping to an abstraction.

Ever since the SGML binary discussions (circa 93?), this idea comes up at least biannually. It is like aliens: if they are here, where are they? The binary requirements can be asserted but one soon discovers that versions exist, none have been adopted widely and begins to ask why. The answer is usually that all other tradeoffs and conditions accounted for, there isn't enough cost benefit to justify adding yet another format to the support soup. Do protocol requirements offer a more compelling case than short lifecycle documents (where WYSIWYG turned out to be a good idea over markup: final fixed format vs archival format)?

--Claude L Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, April 20, 2001

Yet, the evidence that I believe several list members were seeking was more a review of the current real (and not perceived) bottle-necks in processing textual XML (documents or otherwise). And, as RickJ noted, these bottle-necks may be alleviated by using techniques *other* than binary encoding.

The general problem (at least to me) is much more interesting: identify areas that could be improved, and then seek mechanisms for solving them. Binary encoding is just *one* possible solution, and (like all optimisations) will involve a trade-off of other features. Casting a wider net (short-tagging, binary indexes, lazy DOMs) might actually produce something beneficial in a greater number of cases.

--Leigh Dodds on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, April 19, 2001

Historically, "standards" have involved some sort of enforcement mechanism: this is a gallon, and customers have legal recourse if they're sold something that doesn't conform. Say, the gas station doesn't correct for the expansion due to summer heat ... many weight scales must be certified too.

Of course that's exactly what a lot of software vendors are very afraid of letting customers have, even in limited scopes such as fully conforming to W3C specs (perhaps in order to be able to use W3C trademarks).

--David Brownell on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, April 18, 2001
Features like the W3C schema's annotation element are clearly a step up from using XML 1.0 (<!-- -->) comments in DTDs, because they'll make it possible to throw together automated processes to create more useful documentation of schemas, as with Java's javadoc.

--Bob DuCharme on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, April 17, 2001
One of the dubious joys of repeatedly attending XML conferences is hearing the major vendors (particularly Sun and IBM in this case) drone on about how XML will make your car understand which pair of pants you want back from the cleaners. Please! Show me the pointy brackets.

--Edd Dumbill on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, April 15, 2001
every binary RPC protocol I've ever seen has been converted, sooner or later, into a conduit for proprietary platforms. Fragmenting a previously-unified (XML=text) world by creating a binary variant seems a fine start, for any organizations wanting to head that direction. Large vendors can afford the duplicate investments, when they can foresee it opens the door to more vendor lock-in. The rest of the world may well prefer to do smarter things with their time/money than helping raise more barriers to market entry.

--David Brownell on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, April 14, 2001

I just wasted a weekend getting my schema validator to dump the internal form of the 'compiled' schema-for-schemas, on the _assumption_ that reloading that would be faster than parsing/compiling the schema-document-for-schemas every time I needed it. Wrong. Takes more than twice as long to reload the binary image than to parse/compile the XML.

There are _lots_ of people out there working hard to make parsing/writing XML blindingly fast. With respect, you're unlikely to beat them.

--Henry S. Thompson on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, April 13, 2001
WAP is a miserable multibillion-dollar failure... some have argued convincingly is that they crippled the design based on the assumption that the devices would have to be stupid and the connections slow; leading them to, among other things, binary XML.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, April 12, 2001

I do a lot of work with WAP and experience with it has turned me off binary XML encodings fairly comprehensively. I don't think WAP demonstrates the advantage of a binary encoding. I think it demonstrates quite the opposite.

My tests repeatedly show that the difference between response times of the *same* system serving compact HTML (iMode) to an iMode client browser versus WML to a WML browser is negligible.

For my money, iMode got it right. A stripped down HTML with plain text - pure as the driven snow - flowing from client to server.

--Sean McGrath on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, April 11, 2001

an argument that unpacking a binary format (particularly on a machine whose binaries are different and you have to bit-swizzle) is significantly faster than XML parsing a la expat or MSXML, needs to supported by actual empirical data rather than by assertion. And suppose, as a thought experiment, that this were true; if you were to speed up the XML parsing/generating part of an XML-using application, how much would that speed up the whole application? You'd need to know what proportion of its time it spends parsing/generating XML. In would that speed up the whole application? You'd need to know what proportion of its time it spends parsing/generating XML. In some apps, this proportion is going to be very small.

As for the data storage volume issue, uh, isn't the world awash in admirable compression technology that works pretty well on most data formats, and particularly well on redundant textual stuff like XML?

Absent some good strong empirical evidence, neither processing nor storage cost are a priori arguments for going binary.

--Tim Bray xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, April 7, 2001
I see RDF and tend to think of data mining and discovery. I see Topic maps and tend to think of drill down and visualization. RDF is closer to the system tables; topic maps closer to what is in the treeviews.

--Claude L Bullard xml-dev mailing list

Friday, April 6, 2001
Even though XLink and RDF are targeted at different purposes, it's still a fair observation that XLink has a lot (not all) of the power of RDF.

--Eve L. Maler on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, April 5, 2001
In the closing days of getting XML 1.0 out the door, a lot of *reasonable* requests for enhancements were, in good software engineering style, kiboshed as being "for 1.1". Once 1.0 got out the door, everyone developed a strong case of (healthy IMHO) paranoia about screwing with the thing, and personally I'd be astounded to see anyone take on XML 1.1 in my lifetime; the cost is very high and the need doesn't seem that great. So it's legit to suspect that to push things into 1.1 is to kill them.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, April 4, 2001

XSLT curls my hair as well, though there are a growing number of people who seem to love it.

If you stick to relative simple problems initially - start with a document model that's tolerably well-designed, and then map it to some formatting that doesn't involve reorganizing your entire book - it's not so bad. A lot of the obfuscated XSLT out there is designed to process complex data structures that were sort of weakly thrown into XML and now need substantial cleanup.

--Simon St.Laurent on the "Computer Book Publishing" mailing list

Monday, April 2, 2001
It's so very sad to see that there are people there at Microsoft who understand very well the issues, who know very well the right thing to do, who even helped shape the relevant standards. And yet, when it comes to actual shipping products, we see such utter, complete contempt from Microsoft for these standards it helped define.

--Michael Brennan on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, April 1, 2001
the trick with building a web browser these days is not so much to build the basic browser, but to deal with all the weird ways the major web sites screw up the code on their sites. So it's really hard to build a browser that will actually properly display all the popular web sites.

--Bart Decrem
Read the rest in linuxpower.org Eazel: After the earthquake

Saturday, March 31, 2001

The Magic Problem Solver du jour is XML, or Extensible Markup Language, a system for describing arbitrary data. Among people who know nothing about software engineering, XML is the most popular technology since Java. This is a shame since, although it really is wonderful, it won't solve half the problems people think it will. Worse, if it continues to be presented as a Magic Problem Solver, it may not be able to live up to its actual (and considerably more modest) promise.

XML is being presented as the ideal solution for the problem of the age: interoperability. By asserting that their product or service uses XML, vendors everywhere are inviting clients to ignore the problems that arise from incompatible standards, devices, and formats, as if XML alone could act as a universal translator and future-proofer in the post-Babel world we inhabit.

The truth is much more mundane: XML is not a format, it is a way of making formats, a set of rules for making sets of rules. With XML, you can create ways to describe Web-accessible resources using RDF (Resource Description Framework), syndicated content using ICE (Information Content Exchange), or even customer leads for the auto industry using ADF (Auto-lead Data Format). (Readers may be led to believe that XML is also a TLA that generates additional TLAs.)

--Clay Shirky
Read the rest in XML: No Magic Problem Solver

Friday, March 30, 2001
DOM doesn't really match the Infoset. It was either do it DOM's way from the beginning or give up on DOM compatibility. We chose the latter.

--John Cowan on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, March 28, 2001
The bottom line: we (users, W3C, marketers) should treat XML Schemas 1.0 as a well-made, interregnal, comprehensive schema language not the mandatory, ultimate, be-all-and-end-all, universal schema language of fantasy.

--Rick Jelliffe on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, March 27, 2001
I think validation will eventually represent a minority of XML Schema implementations. The main function of XML Schemas in my mind is that they provide metadata and metadata allows you to drive all sorts of applications. A simple example is an editor that reads an XML Schema and formats the UI accordingly. A more complex example is an application that reads an XML Schema and generates classes or database schema from it.

--Ronald Bourret on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, March 25, 2001
you can debate whether it is right or wrong till your heart's content, but just as there was an era before the notion of intellectual property, we are now entering into the "post intellectual property" era. And just as there was music, literature, art, and innovation before these laws were invented, there will be after the laws are gone.

--Howard Ires on the WWWAC mailing list

Saturday, March 24, 2001
If users are accustomed to "editing documents" a la Word or other word processor, they'll find doing so with XML Spy an exquisitely excruciating experience. :) This isn't a knock on XML Spy, but it definitely is oriented toward data-centric (vs. document-centric) XML.

--John E. Simpson on the XML-L mailing list

Friday, March 16, 2001
XML is just a tool. Not at all interesting by itself, but a handy thing to know when building a solution.

--James Robertson on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, March 15, 2001

If you think of Schemas (broadly defined) as a contract between the producer and consumer of data, think of the nightmares we would be living through if every "paper" transaction had to be defined by a legal contract that specified details down to the level of interpretation of each number in every field in a form. Sure, there ARE cases when this is important, and an army of lawyers out there who will happily charge you $400/hour to get these details right ... but should that be the norm? Most of the time we muddle through and decide whether 45.67 is a rounded off floating point number, a decimal number, or a major.minor version number by context, heuristics, etc. That's a problem for automated tools and the semantic web, but not too severe a problem for human programmers and readers.

Likewise with XML Schemas. In my mind, they are the $400/hr lawyers of the XML world ... when you need them, you need them badly, but most people hope to get through their daily lives without having to deal with these @#$%s!

--Michael Champion on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, March 14, 2001
the whole notion of fixing and defaulting attribute values is an unfortunate legacy that is inconsistent with the real XML 1.0 philosophy. When we have the notion of defaulted or fixed attributes, then an XML document cannot truly stand on its own; it requires a DTD or schema for the real intended content to be interpreted.

--Michael Brennan on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, March 13, 2001
If 10% (or even Sturgeon's 5%) of XML-based initiatives actually succeeded in any significant way, then XML would be an astounding success story. Tech initiatives tend to fail -- it's their nature -- and the more lofty or all-embracing the goals, the more likely the failure.

--David Megginson on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, March 12, 2001
In terms of validation, no schema will be able to adequately capture all of the business rules real-world applications need to apply for validation. Some of these rules cannot even be based simply on the content of a single document instance, but need to take into account factors external to the document instance, such as business rules in an application, relational database integrity constraints, or rules in a larger workflow that may involve the exchange of multiple document instances (at a minimum, taking into account the correlation of a response document to a request document).

--Michael Brennan on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, March 11, 2001
Most websites, when faced with the choice of spending 1 million dollars on advertising to increase site visits and spending $50,000 on usability to convert more visitors to customers, would have spent it on advertising. Metrics were centered around traffic rather than profits. This is a large part of why they failed.

--Scott Shirley on the wwwac mailing list

Saturday, March 10, 2001
XML took a complex set of problems, broke the components into smaller pieces, picked off the easy ones to convince everyone that it was the way to go. Now that that has been completed, we're left with trying to resolve the original but deferred complexity as well as the new complexity between the smaller components.

--Marcus Carr on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, March 9, 2001
There is a place for XML, but it is not in the programming language proper, as XSLT has shown oooh so clearly.

--Clark C. Evans on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, March 4, 2001
XML violates the primary Internet law of being conservative in what you produce but liberal in what you accept. Interestingly, XML *has* succeeded in the server-side/B2B space, precisely where the Draconian Error Recovery is an advantage rather than a liability. As a spec, XML naturally migrated to its most appropriate habitat, just as Java did. XML's error recovery is a fascinating case of a design flaw (for its original, client-side target) turning into an unexpected benefit.

--David Megginson on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, March 3, 2001
The web is still too slow. Fatter pipes aren't going to help. The only way to make it fast is to do some of the work on the (severely underemployed, these days) client, and the only way to do that is to send some useful data there to get chewed on. So I think client-side XML just hasn't got going yet. To say it had failed, it would be necessary for it to have been tried.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, March 2, 2001
I have said repeatedly over the years, that I will entertain the encoding of Klingon when the tribble-kissing wimps at the Klingon High Command beam an armed delegation into a UTC meeting and demand the encoding of their script. Until then, I see no reason to consider encoding this script.

--Rick McGowan on the Unicode mailing list

Thursday, March 1, 2001
In SQL, the query language is not expressed in tables and rows. In XQuery, the query language is not expressed in XML. Why is this a problem?

--Jonathan Robie on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, February 28, 2001

XML standards are the latest in a series of great hopes in IT. XML standards will provide users with vendor independence. XML standards will strip all of the latency out of intercompany operations at a low cost. XML standards will create a single global electronic market enabling all parties irrespective of size to engage in Internet-based electronic business. XML standards will provide for plug-and-play software.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? It should because we've heard promises just like these for standards in Unix, objects, and various network protocols. These promises are the marketing, not the reality, of XML standards. Early experience with RosettaNet and Microsoft's SOAP indicates that XML standards provide some leverage for some problems in small-scale systems. The backlash is inevitable, and can be fatal even to well-considered standards efforts.

--John R. Rymer
Read the rest in Why 90 percent of XML standards will fail

Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Partway through Elliotte Rusty Harold's talk about namespaces, I realized where this relentless drive toward abstraction was taking us. Every new level of abstraction draws the computer-based world closer to the concepts we talk about in the real world. We've moved from waves to bits to data to information to infosets to application objects. As this process continues, some ambitious Comp Sci graduate student will realize that somebody already created the tree structure mapping the highest level of reality. That person was, of course, G. W. F. Hegel. Hegel's dialectic led him to create a map of reality that, at the top of the tree structure, divided everything into either the material or the spiritual realm. That dichotomy was resolved in God, and, my friends, that's about as far as you can go.

That ambitious Comp Sci grad student, eager to get his Ph.D. and begin making real money, will create The Two Final Infosets: MatterML and SpiritML. Then, late one night, as rain falls in torrents and lightning flashes outside his laboratory windows, he'll run XSLT to transform the material world to the spiritual world. We'll be gone. The last material object on earth will be that graduate student's open copy of XML in a Nutshell. It makes an editor in chief proud, in a perverse kind of way.

--Frank Willison
Read the rest in xml.oreilly.com -- The Relentless March of Computer Abstraction

Monday, February 26, 2001
XQuery = XSLT - templateRules - nonAbbreviatedXPathAxes

--Evan Lenz on the xsl-list mailing list

Sunday, February 25, 2001
the value of a CS degree is a matter of constant debate. Most of the 'founding' XML community seems to be a bunch of humanities majors, as are a lot of the HTML folks I know.

--Simon St.Laurent on the XHTML-L mailing list

Monday, February 19, 2001
Anyone out there in business taking on new XML projects without XML experts, and XML experts taking on projects without business understanding are all screwing each other over. Be very clear because once you set these beasties, these golems in motion, they are very hard to stop and they do a lot of damage to the villagers.

--Claude L Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, February 18, 2001
But Java and linking together the data types solves this component service composition model using programming language technology. XML doesn't because it's still just data. You still have to have a type system to plug the things together and essentially, dynamic linking, and you don't find that in XML just by itself. So you need Java and you essentially need what Jini does - whether you're hooked together with Jini RPC or an XML-formatted RPC is really kind of irrelevant. You still need the moral equivalent of dynamic linking if you're to have rich things that connect to each other. People will eventually realize that you need to do something like Jini.

--Bill Joy
Read the rest in OpenP2P.com: A Conversation with Bill Joy [Feb. 13, 2001]

Saturday, February 17, 2001

SGML in those days was OnlyForPrintingBigBooks. The graphics folks were busily trying to grab for the top of the abstraction tree (who owns the parse), and getting any three vendors to agree on a network was almost impossible. So much IT had to be devoted to the "glue" it cost big bucks and it seldom could be reproduced. That is what CALS was about or supposed to be. In the beginning (Computer Aided Logistics) CALS was close to being an "even entry point" in that there were just three of four standards and some flexibility for implementation. Basically, it was a file forward lobster trap system. By the time it became Commerce At Light Speed four billion dollars later, it was such a hodge-podge of options, no one wanted to fool with it. Along came the web with No Options (HTML - love it or leave it) and things moved again while the three decades of markup development repeated.

It is like rock: from three-chord blues to jazz every generation, then a collapse of unsustainable complexity back to unendurable simplicity. It is a cycling learning curve driven by the ratio of experienced users to newbies.

--Claude L Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, February 16, 2001
It's impossible to get people to use standard, valid HTML these days -- getting them to use appropriate metadata is that problem squared.

--Edd Dumbill
Read the rest in P2P Goes in Search of 'Doogle'

Thursday, February 15, 2001
XML Doesn't Care. XML Doesn't Know. Care and knowledge are in the application processor. It is a local network node with layers of interpretation above and below it.

--Claude L Bullard on the XML DEV mailing list

Wednesday, February 14, 2001
It's easy to be dismissive of tech writers, but consider the changes that they've already been subjected to. In the span of a single career some writers have gone from typewriters to writing galleys on computer, to learning word processors to learning SGML/XML, and now we bemoan the fact that they won't hurl themselves head first into more technology? All this on top of the fact that their fundamental purpose is to act as a subject matter expert.

--Marcus Carr on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, February 13, 2001
In the case of many XML documents, it is suboptimal to have to receive and parse the entire document when only a fragment of it is desired. If the user asked to look at chapter 20, one shouldn't need to parse 19 whole chapters before getting to the part of interest.

--W3C XML Core Working Group
Read the rest in XML Fragment Interchange

Monday, February 12, 2001
Retain <xsl:script> - and soon there will be a lot of stylesheets written 50% in XSLT and 50% in Java, which are STANDARD and probably even more stylesheets written 50% in XSLT and 50% in VB, C#, etc, which are NON-STANDARD. Would it really improve interoperability? And why Java is in more privileged position than any other language?

--Alexey Gokhberg on the xsl-list mailing list

Friday, February 9, 2001
So if you want a one or two week project, implement XML. If you want a six month to one year project, implement SGML.

--Rick Jelliffe on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, February 8, 2001
I'm kind of fed up with reading about "data centric" vs "document centric" XML. I thought part of the promise of XML was that I would eventually be able to handle documents as data and vice versa- the distinction would be moot.

--Linda Grimaldi on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, February 6, 2001

Linux 2.4.0 is available for no money. So is FreeBSD. Linux uses advanced hardware, so does FreeBSD. FreeBSD is more stable and faster than Linux, in my opinion. We penguinistas sometimes believe we are having more fun than anybody. But then I lean over the fence and discover the FreeBSD folks are having a hell of a party, too. And their OS is as fast as I have seen.

I have to ask myself why I don't just switch my server to FreeBSD.

--Moshe Bar
Read the rest in Byte > Column > Linux 2.4 vs FreeBSD 4.1.1 > Qualitative Results > January 30, 2001

Monday, February 5, 2001

Confusing a demo design with a prototype for a working project is the kind of mistake amateurs make all the time--show a hot demo to the sales force and they want to know when it is going to ship.

Usually, the people actually engaged in the project well understand the difference. Apple seems to have lost all ability to tell real from imaginary. We saw this phenomenon with the round mouse, a "cool" design that was completely impractical. It took two years of the trade press calling them idiots before they finally pulled the mouse from the market. That protest was nothing compared to what the Dock has generated, and still they are hanging on.

--Bruce Tognazzini
Read the rest in Top 10 Reasons the Apple Dock Sucks

Saturday, February 3, 2001

Sun's position is similar to that of gun toters in the US, or of nuke toters in the cold war: "We have a frightful weapon, but we're really nice people, we only have it because with live in a cruel unpoliced world in which bad guys have the same kind of weapon, and we have this weapon to protect everybody from the bad guys." Sun's concerns are no different than any company involved in making a standard -- the fact that a company's involved in a standard means something they develop relates to it. If Sun's position is acceptable, then every standard released should have some gun-slinging cowboy attached to it. Or worse, each standard could have different companies as white knights over portions of the standard they feel obliged to protect. And each time a standard comes out with one or more vigilante champions behind it, the more other companies are going to feel compelled, or threatened, to do the same, and the more the vigilante-ism is going to increase.

Now matter how well Sun means, there's still a loaded gun in the room. Having a patent from a private company on a part of a standard is always going to be just that, no matter how much protective legalese padding is wrapped around it. The patent will still affect the atmosphere of the standard's adoption and implementation, and the fact that it's necessary for a pointer to a patent disclaimer to be in the spec itself is always going to be a warning sign for readers, no matter how well-worded the disclaimer is.

--Lloyd Rutledge on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, February 2, 2001
Being turing complete, one could write a regexep string matcher in XSLT, if you had a spare month or two to write it, and your users had a similar amount of time to run it.....

--David Carlisle on the xsl-list mailing list

Thursday, February 1, 2001

There is nothing wrong with allowing people to optionally choose to buy copy-protection products that they like.

What is wrong is when people who would like products that simply record bits, or audio, or video, without any copy protection, can't find any, because they have been driven off the market. By restrictive laws like the Audio Home Recording Act, which killed the DAT market. By "anti-circumvention" laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which EFF is now litigating. By Federal agency actions, like the FCC deciding a month ago that it will be illegal to offer citizens the capability to record HDTV programs, even if the citizens have the legal right to. By private agreements among major companies, such as SDMI and CPRM (that later end up being "submitted" as fait accompli to accredited standards committees, requiring an effort by the affected public to derail them). By private agreements behind the laws and standards, such as the unwritten agreement that DAT and MiniDisc recorders will treat analog inputs as if they contained copyrighted materials which the user has no rights in. (My recording of my brother's wedding is uncopyable, because my MiniDisc decks act as if I and my brother don't own the copyright on it.)

--John Gilmore
Read the rest in What's Wrong With Content Protection

Wednesday, January 31, 2001

In this week's InfoWorld test-center editors and analysts chose the 10 most significant technologies for business in the year 2000. They made some respectable choices. Naming XML as the year's most significant business technology wasn't one of them. I'm not arguing that it hasn't had a big impact on business, although I would strongly suggest that it shouldn't have been rated No. 1.

But come on folks, since when is XML a technology? XML really isn't much more sophisticated than those label makers that are used to dial up letters and punch a name into a plastic strip. Yes, I know that when it comes to XML it's not the label that matters but the standard. And I admit that as a standard, XML has been one heck of a boon to business. But when I think of XML I think of the Dewey Decimal System. And to me, Dewey just ain't a technology.

--Nicholas Petreley
Read the rest in Java's future lies with Linux

Tuesday, January 30, 2001
One of the great things about 10646 and Unicode being in sync is that there are some people who do not trust industry -- so they can just embrace ISO. Others do not trust anyone but the actual people doing the implementing -- they can embrace Unicode.

--Michael Kaplan on the Unicode mailing list

Monday, January 29, 2001

the utility of grammar-based schemas is as well-established as the utility of the horse-drawn stump-jump plough: yes we can do excellent things with them that we would not do without them, but if we are not Amish why use a horse when there are shining tractors with air-conditioned cabs and diverting CDs of Dwight Yoakim yodelling and the Georgia Peach singing?

If we know XML documents need to be graphs, why are we working as if they are trees? Why do we have schema languages that enforce the treeness of the syntax rather than provide the layer to free us from it?

--Rick Jelliffe on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, January 28, 2001

This is the worst kind of political exploitation. It takes schools off the hook and turns the complex process of school administration over to adolescents. Kids will ultimately have to live in fear that the desk mate they jostled with will turn them in, or that bragging about exploits on Doom will get them turned into W.A.V.E. as "unbalanced."

If a teen or a parent becomes aware that a classmate has a gun and plans to use it, there are plenty of cops and law enforcement officials they can call. There is no statistical evidence to support the notion that schools are so dangerous that children need to be manipulated into turning one another in. Nor is there much doubt about who will be targeted - geeks, nerds, Goths, oddballs, along with anyone else who is discontented, alienated and individualistic.

That kids are being asked to do this is revolting enough. That they are being asked to do it by a profit-making private corporation suggests a culture much sicker and more dangerous than most school kids.

--Jon Katz
Read the rest in Slashdot | Voices From The Hellmouth Revisited: Part Ten

Saturday, January 27, 2001
I do find it interesting that every techie in Redmond, home of the ├╝bergeeks, had to be hunched over those servers, looking at what was happening on that network. So even though they are saying someone took advantage of them when they were down and out, in truth it should have been harder to get in when they were all on the alert. Sort of like showing up in the afternoon to rob a bank when the feds are still there investigating that morning's robbery.

--Tepes
Read the rest in Microsoft Crashes: The Fallout

Thursday, January 25, 2001
Talking to WAP Forum is like talking to old Soviet Politburo committee about problems of Communism. You can throw 30K to join the ranks of engineering-bureacratic-politicians from carriers, handset manufacturers, and mCommerce wannabes, but you will be better entertained in a mental institution.

--Don Park on the Xml-Dev mailing list

Wednesday, January 24, 2001

What is wrong is that we have invented the technology to eliminate scarcity, but we are deliberately throwing it away to benefit those who profit from scarcity. We now have the means to duplicate any kind of information that can be compactly represented in digital media. We can replicate it worldwide, to billions of people, for very low costs, affordable by individuals. We are working hard on technologies that will permit other sorts of resources to be duplicated this easily, including arbitrary physical objects ("nanotechnology"; see http://www.foresight.org). The progress of science, technology, and free markets have produced an end to many kinds of scarcity. A hundred years ago, more than 99% of Americans were still using outhouses, and one out of every ten children died in infancy. Now even the poorest Americans have cars, television, telephones, heat, clean water, sanitary sewers -- things that the richest millionaires of 1900 could not buy. These technologies promise an end to physical want in the near future.

We should be rejoicing in mutually creating a heaven on earth! Instead, those crabbed souls who make their living from perpetuating scarcity are sneaking around, convincing co-conspirators to chain our cheap duplication technology so that it WON'T make copies -- at least not of the kind of goods THEY want to sell us. This is the worst sort of economic protectionism -- beggaring your own society for the benefit of an inefficient local industry. The record and movie distribution companies are careful not to point this out to us, but that is what is happening.

If by 2030 we have invented a matter duplicator that's as cheap as copying a CD today, will we outlaw it and drive it underground? So that farmers can make a living keeping food expensive, so that furniture makers can make a living preventing people from having beds and chairs that would cost a dollar to duplicate, so that builders won't be reduced to poverty because a comfortable house can be duplicated for a few hundred dollars? Yes, such developments would cause economic dislocations for sure. But should we drive them underground and keep the world impoverished to save these peoples' jobs? And would they really stay underground, or would the natural advantages of the technology cause the "underground" to rapidly overtake the rest of society?

--John Gilmore
Read the rest in What's Wrong With Content Protection

Tuesday, January 23, 2001
As far as "optimization" of data formats goes in general, remember that the law of evolution known as Fisher's Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection applies to human inventions as well as biological organisms. It says that the better adapted an organism is to its current environment, the less change in its environment it can survive. In the realm of data formats, this means that the effort spent optimizing a data format is likely to be wasted as soon as the data to be conveyed changes, because the optimization took advantage of what were effectively limitation on the data to be conveyed.

--Eric Bohlman on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, January 22, 2001
My children at primary school are better trained on the Internet than the local police are

--Tim Snape
Read the rest in ISPs 'RIP' Into British Police

Saturday, January 20, 2001
Consumers have a message for companies trying to figure out why the wireless Web market has failed to take off in this country: It's the screen, stupid.

--John Borland
Read the rest in CNET.com - News - Communications - A high-wireless act

Friday, January 19, 2001
Congress has effectively allowed Hollywood to write a statute that turns copyright holders' wishes into federal law with severe criminal penalties for anyone who does not comply with those wishes, Important individual rights like fair use, first sale, and the public domain are eliminated by the statute's sloppy handling of civil liberties.

--Robin Gross
Read the rest in Copyright: Your Right or Theirs?

Thursday, January 18, 2001
Consumers have a message for companies trying to figure out why the wireless Web market has failed to take off in this country: It's the screen, stupid.

--John Borland
Read the rest in CNET.com - News - Communications - A high-wireless act

Wednesday, January 17, 2001

The World Wide Web has the potential to develop into a universal encyclopedia covering all areas of knowledge, and a complete library of instructional courses. This outcome could happen without any special effort, if no one interferes. But corporations are mobilizing now to direct the future down a different track--one in which they control and restrict access to learning materials, so as to extract money from people who want to learn.

To ensure that the web develops toward the best and most natural outcome, where it becomes a free encyclopedia, we must make a conscious effort to prevent deliberate sequestration of the encyclopedic and educational information on the net. We cannot stop business from restricting the information it makes available; what we can do is provide an alternative. We need to launch a movement to develop a universal free encyclopedia, much as the Free Software movement gave us the free software operating system GNU/Linux. The free encyclopedia will provide an alternative to the restricted ones that media corporations will write.

--Richard Stallman
Read the rest in GNUPedia Project Announcement - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Monday, January 15, 2001
We are being drawn toward an event horizon of a black hole of singular patents that can paralyze the evolution of infrastructure of the Internet for decades. This is very real, very bad, and must be propagated to as many lists where technical discussions are held quickly. Sun may be asserting what they consider to be a valid patent. Que bueno. We know for a fact there is prior art. We know the patent covers a vital part of the web document design. This must be overturned and a case made clear both to corporations and individuals that work for these corporations that pursuing such patents will face patient and persistent opposition and may cost them considerable business.

--Claude L Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, January 12, 2001
Cutting-edge technology does not give a company the right to cut jobs without proper notice to employees.

--Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal
Read the rest in CNET.com - News - E-Business - Connecticut sues Net company for labor violation

Thursday, January 11, 2001
the future clearly lies in abandoning both HTML and XHTML, and I think that caution must be made to make sure that XHTML efforts aren't trying to hold back fuller support for "pure" XML based solutions as some sort of crutch or security blanket.

--Kynn Bartlett on the XHTML-L mailing list

Wednesday, January 10, 2001
XML Schemas provide no mechanism for declaring general entities. (This isn't an oversight on the part of the XML Schema WG, it's a consequence of how schema validation is defined. Briefly, schema validation is performed on the information set constructed by parsing the document. But the parser needs to know about entity declarations *while it's parsing* so schema's just occur "too late" in the process to practically declare entities.)

--Norman Walsh on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, January 9, 2001

Should a namespace URI reference an actual resource (such as a schema definition) or not?

In the end, it seems to me that there is only one reasonable answer: It can be if it wants to be.

--Seairth Jacobs on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, January 8, 2001
XHTML is at best a transitory language which will fade out of use within a few years, replaced by something much better. It may linger on for a while as a necessary item to consider for backward's compatibility's sake -- in other words, it will take the place currently held by HTML 3.2 or so.

--Kynn Bartlett on the XHTML-L mailing list

Sunday, January 7, 2001
Given that the largest software company in the world is still actively promoting "XSL" to mean some non standard extension of a historical pre-draft of XSL when they actually distribute a remarkably good implementation of the real thing but hardly advertise it at all, it is not surprising that confusion over this is still the most common problem discussed on any XSL forum.

--David Carlisle on the xsl-list mailing list

Saturday, January 6, 2001
Clearly, for the future of both mobile Internet and mobile voice communication, telephones have no benefits and many downsides. The telephone has served us well for 100 years. It is time for it to go.

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in Mobile Phones: Europe's Next Minitel? (Alertbox Jan. 2001)

Friday, January 5, 2001

The flaw is the conflation of name, location and identity but that flaw is the basic feature by which the WWW runs so we are stuck there. All the handwaving about URN/URI/URL doesn't avoid the simple fact that if one puts http:// anywhere in browser display space, the system colors it blue and puts up a finger.

The monkey expects a resource and when it doesn't get one, it shocks the monkey. Monkeys don't read specs to find out why they should be shocked. They turn red and put up a finger.

--Claude L Bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, January 4, 2001
I personally find the separation of presentation from (content? structure? whatever) to be very artificial and forced; it's a distinction that exists primarily because people dogmatically _want_ it to exist and not because it is natural.

--Kynn Bartlett on the XHTML-L mailing list

Wednesday, January 3, 2001

<rant subject="namespace kvetching" frequency="every 6 months or so"> All attempts to assign meaning to namespace names (which are URI references) are ex post facto and irrelevant to the aims of the namespace recommendation, which is to make names unique for practical purposes in the Internet context. This is a useful thing to do, and the namespace recommendation does it.

Once there is some general agreement as to what kinds of semantics one might expect to attach to namespaces, and what mechanisms prove to be the best for expressing those semantics, then it will be possible to have a useful debate about the meaning of namespace identifiers. In the advance of such agreement, the debate has been, and continues to be, an outpouring of hot air which could be put to better use this winter in helping alleviate energy shortages. </rant>

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, January 2, 2001
I would humbly suggest that it might be reasonable at this point to put "namespaces mean X because the namespaces spec says so" into the same category as "one must keep servants because all respectable people do so."

--Simon St.Laurent on the xml-dev@lists.xml.org mailing list

Monday, January 1, 2001
Yes, Virginia, there is a Semantic Web. A little bit of it exists in each of us ...

--David Megginson on the xml-dev mailing list

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Copyright 2001 Elliotte Rusty Harold
elharo@ibiblio.org
Last Modified December 31, 2001