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I was at XTech 2000 and at the birth of XML so I can't help but 
to comment on this discussion. 

At 11:24 AM 3/5/00 -0500, David RR Webber wrote:
>Message text written by "Michael Champion"
> >That is the strength of XML, (if not necessarily  of the related
>specs that have come from the W3C).  XML itself was intended (in the words
>of Tim Bray at XTech2000 last week) to "come in fast and under the radar,
>and be on target before anyone knew about it".<

True. There was nothing to compete with this activity, yet we all
knew that if we were to get the kind of industrial interest that
XML has today, we could not make the fast and hard decisions that
the original XML WG was able to.

>Several points here :  - 100% agreed that the focus has wandered, and that not
>all W3C specs are created in the original model - so we should be very 
>circumspect about what it is that they are offering up.

Of course not. Even before XML 1.0 was finalized the WG more than 
doubled in membership. It was spotted on the radar and industry
started to make its demands heard. Today, every XML WG faces the
burden of 30+ members and established industrial base.

>Here's what Tim Bray stated as the design goals of XML:
>XML shall be straightforwardly usable over the internet
>XML shall support a wide variety of applications
>XML shall be compatible with SGML
>It shall be easy to write programs that process XML documents
>The number of optional features is to be kept to an absolute minimum
>and semantic goals
>XML documents should be human-legible and reasonably clear
>XML design should be prepared quickly
>XML documents should be easy to create
>Terseness in XML markup is of minimal importance
>I presume Tim was referring to the second semantic item in the analogy
>of 'coming in under the radar'.  Actually on closer inspection
>this analogy is instructive!   Coming in under the radar
>requires an awful lot of technology, or a lot of balls and flying
>by the seat of your pants...

In our case, seat-of-our-pants. We knew what we wanted and went 
for it. We did not expect the kind of success that XML now enjoys.
We did not need this kind of support to meet our needs.

>In our case I believe the metrics are different.  The bravado is 
>out of scope.  What people are asking for is light weight solutions
>that are interoperable, and are business sensible focused.   

Light weight is a matter of opinion and perspective. Compared to
today's backoffice infrastructures, we can do a lot and still be
considered "lightweight".

>Part of the inertia of EDI was that it is boring and expensive!
>XML/edi and the ebXML approach certainly therefore need to 
>ensure that people can use it intuitively to build interesting solutions

I believe a significant part of the drive away from EDI is
interoperability-or the lack thereof. Recall Bob Glushko's
tyranny of pair-wise operability paper.

For me, the other need is flexibility/adaptability. I believe
we face a need to have transactions easily interface with other
parts of the computing infrastructure.

>This brings me back to the issues I have with the W3C Schema proposal.
>It looks very much like a submarine with a steamengine installed.   The
>theorists sound like they've got it right - faster, safer, less prone to
>but in reality the business use model does not work - too expensive to
>maintain - not all ports are equipped with quays it can tie up to, 
>the design was rushed together to meet artifical deadlines (XTech2000 Show) and requires too specialized a crew.

It was not rushed to artificial deadlines. I asked the WG to bring new
materials to that meeting but what was delivered is only a Working

As commercial implementations emerge we will see about the other 
claims of expense and specialized knowledge. IBM, Microsoft, 
CommerceOne and Extensibility have implemented major portions of
the spec and do not express undue concerns about supporting it.

I know at least three DTD authors whose DTD skills I respect very
much that have begun porting to XML Schemas. They are excited and
pleased with the results. As the industry starts creating tools
and books, the skills issue should recede.

>Hopefully a healthy sanity check now ensues where business focused details
>that the eDTD work sets out are placed square and center. 
>( http://www.bizcodes.org/eDTD/xml-eDTDWP.htm )

I am looking forward to a heads-up comparison and understanding.
There are several alternatives to XML Schemas emerging and as
co-chair of the schema WG want us to learn what the differences
and similarities are.


Dave Hollander
Dave Hollander
Director eCommerce Knowledge Management and Interoperability
Co-chair W3C XML Schema Working Group

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