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Draft US gov't XML Developer's Guide

  • To: xml-dev@l...
  • Subject: Draft US gov't XML Developer's Guide
  • From: Mike Champion <mc@x...>
  • Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002 09:14:49 -0500

don xml developer s guide
I saw something particularly interesting on Robin 
COver's site:
"An initial Draft Federal XML Developer's Guide 
has been published for review by the U.S. Federal 
CIO Council XML Working Group .. designed to assist 
government activities in developing XML implementations 
in the short term, while lessons learned are collected. 
It provides general development guidance for the many 
XML initiatives currently taking place within US Departments
and Agencies."

The draft text is at

The document is basically a "best practices" guide for XML
developers, and interesting in that respect alone. For example it

- Strongly favors W3C Recommendations, but allows use of draft
  specs and other organizations' specs if a justification
  can be made
- More or less forbids use of specs that compete with W3C
  technical work.
- Discourages use of proprietary extensions to specs
- Mandates use of the ISO 11179 naming convention 
- Allows DTDs for document-centric work but notes a
  preference for W3C XSD
- Suggests separating information modeling from 
  schema design
- Insists that schemas and stylesheets be commented
- Suggests a "header" metadata section in schemas
- Recommends that attributes be used only to define 
  metadata applicable to the entire subtree of an element

This only skims the surface of course; the document is
103 pages long.

I'd definitely be interested in hearing others' 
opinions on these guidelines, perhaps using it to
bootstrap the xml-dev Best Practices Guide we keep
talking about doing Real Soon Now.

They don't ask for free advice on these guidelines, but
maybe somone on this list is involved.  The only thing
I really don't like in this document is that rather 
quaint belief that the W3C owns the One Ring to rule
them all ... Maybe my hope that the ISO is resurrecting
itself and will eventually debug and productize the 
prototypes that come out of W3C Labs is even more quaint, 
but I find it odd for the government to consider a 
vendor consortium's Recommendations as more "standard"
than those of international standards bodies.


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