Re: XML-with-datatypes (was....)
On 10/13/05, Bullard, Claude L (Len) <len.bullard@i...> wrote: > > > Every semantic level added to XML that closes it to other > applications reserves the future to the deep pockets of > corporations and global shareholders. What you > offer as a minor version increment is a very large step into > the past when such events not only went unnoticed, they > were expected and applauded. For the last decade, > the openness of web technologies and web standards provided > a short breath of freedom that has resulted in innovation > and prosperity at unimagined scale. > > You would give it up to make it two groats easier to > spot bugs earlier. Don't be too surprised if the applause > from the bleachers here is muted for the moment. As much as I agree with the general assessment of how XSD turned out, I don't see it as the first step on the road to Apocalypse. The way I have come to see it -- after several years in the service of an enterprise-focused mainframe-funded company and almost a year in the Evil Empire (tm) -- the typical developer who is not an XML geek hits a brick wall when confronted by untyped XML data. (OK, unless it is human-oriented text that just needs to be run thru a stylesheet and shown to the user, of course). XSD has few loyal friends in the trenches AFAIK, but the idea of having to deal with the hassles of comparing dates, floats, etc. as strings, or tediously converting them to programming language datatypes one by one, and learning XPath/XSLT in order to handle arbitrary variations in data structure, is even worse. In my heart of hearts I think they would be better off if they *did* learn all this wonderful, open, XML stuff, but the fact seems to be that they would prefer to just map it to objects as quickly as possible. "It's a price in an invoice, don't make me deal with it as a node in a tree!!" is their complaint against untyped XML. By binding to objects, they get the benefits of XML (vendor/platform/application-neutrality, the network effect, etc.) without the costs of diving into all the confusion and complexity that we somewhat happily wallow in. My colleague Erik Meijer prostelytizes what *I* think the overall trend in both programs and data is going to be: "static typing where possible, dynamic typing where necessary." In the short run, W3C XSD plays a possibly lamentable but undeniably practical role in this. In the long run it would be nice to refactor or replace the &*^% thing, but those who would do so need to understand the very real use cases to which it is being applied, and not just wish that they would go away.
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