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Relax NG, Thoughts, etc.

relaxing thoughts
In one session I chaired at XML 2004, I asked attendees to  
hold up their hands if they thought that RELAX NG 
should be used in cases where Schema is now 
required.  In a room of about 40 people, 5 
raised their hands.   I've no beef against 
XSD, and I've written a DTD or two in my day, but 
this situation where the W3C and certain very 
large unnamed vendors ignore RELAX isn't right. 
OTOH, based on that admittedly off the cuff 
poll (god knows some might have thought I 
was asking if they preferred LSD to relaxing), 
it seems not enough users know about RELAX NG 
or appreciate the merits.

That should change.  I have a suspicion that 
it is the current trendiness of ontologies 
etc. that is drowning out the RELAX opportunity. 
We need to do a better job educating our fellows 
about the differences among these kinds of 
technologies, and make some noise in Redmond and 
elsewhere that RELAX is clearly the easier path 
for a very large intersection of needs.

I can't make up my mind about Topic Maps vs RDF or 
if that is even an issue. Steve Pepper's presentation 
and the Ontopia tool made me a believer in that 
combination, that is, one can with a little practice, 
make a super useful model and document with Topic 
Maps.  I've no experience with RDF.  I am told the 
Protege tool is fantastic.  I have to get my head 
around this one better.

I do think that the HLS Beltway experts should be 
working hard to get the priorities right.  Some 
things I saw gave me pause to worry a bit that 
we may be putting a lot of noise into the consultancy 
food chain.  This will become RFP fodder that is a 
little too close to the edge to implement given the 
current state of tools, technologies and standards. 
Given the mission, we should take extra care not to 
oversell the capabilities of our technologies, or to 
underplay the expense of implementing them in real 
world projects.



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