Re: Microsoft's response to XML.com article
[Jun Fujisawa <fujisawa@t...>:] > On MSDN site, I found an article posted which addresses some of the > issues raised by the David Brownell's XML.com review. > <http://msdn.microsoft.com/xml/general/msxmlconform.asp> > The article states that "you will see much better than 87 or 88 > percent of XML files exchanged between Msxml.dll and other parsers > actually achieve interoperability". (Religion alert! Below is a RANT from a person who believes Precise Communication Is A Good and Sacred Thing upon which the Lives and Livelihoods of All Civilized Human Beings Depend.) I guess it depends on what is meant by "interoperability". "Interoperability" means far more than "well-formedness" (parsability) or even "validity" (conformance to a DTD or other schema). An "interoperable" XML instance must provably conform, not only lexically but also semantically, to a set of constraints such that any application that relies upon an instance's conformance to that set of constraints can successfully and fully interpret the instance precisely in the manner intended by its creator. (Note: The widespread popular use of the term "XML file" is also imprecise and misleading. I use the term "XML instance" because an "XML file" is not necessarily even well-formed, much less validatable, much less interoperable. "XML instance" refers to the logical thing that is a complete XML expression. "XML file" refers to a storage object that contains some data that has something to do with XML, but it does not imply that the contents of the file constitute a complete XML instance. Therefore, while it is meaningful to speak of the "interoperability" of an "XML instance", it is not meaningful to speak of the "interoperability" of an "XML file".) In the general case, there can be no such thing as "interoperability", even for XML instances, unless the requirements of interoperability have been exhaustively and precisely defined in writing -- most likely using a natural language -- for a given class of XML instances. Such an "architecture definition document" (so-called in ISO/IEC 10744:1997) probably includes, but is not limited to, a DTD. Yes, an XML Schema might replace the DTD, but an XML Schema by itself cannot be a definition of interoperability, any more than a DTD can. This is because no single parser, and no single schema language, regardless of its level of sophistication, can be the arbiter of interoperability for all types of instances. Interoperability (regardless of what it is called after the word "interoperability" has been rendered useless through widespread abuse) is not yet a popular concept on the Web, but it will necessarily have become popular by the time Web-based e-commerce has matured. This is because interoperable XML instances always make sense and always perform as expected, even in multi-software-vendor, multi-application contexts. Business-to-business communications absolutely require that level of reliability and precision, and business-to-business communications very often occur in multi-software-vendor, multi-application contexts. Software vendors basically don't like information to be interoperable, even though it serves the best interests of their customers. One way to attempt to stamp out the whole concept of interoperability is to undermine the meaning of the word "interoperable", so that the concept will afterwards not even have a name. Even without a usable name, though, the concept of real interoperability is not going to go away. No amount of denial or FUD can change the basic business requirements. -Steve -- Steven R. Newcomb, President, TechnoTeacher, Inc. srn@t... http://www.techno.com ftp.techno.com voice: +1 972 517 7954 fax +1 972 517 4571 Suite 211 7101 Chase Oaks Boulevard Plano, Texas 75025 USA xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev@i... Archived as: http://www.lists.ic.ac.uk/hypermail/xml-dev/ or CD-ROM/ISBN 981-02-3594-1 Please note: New list subscriptions now closed in preparation for transfer to OASIS.
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