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Re: XML support in browsers?

  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Mon, 08 Jun 2009 13:47:33 -0400

Re:  XML support in browsers?
Michael Kay wrote:
>> You asked for guidance, seeming interested in what these 
>> strange seemingly exclusionary people might have in common. 
>> When presented with a summary created by a diverse community 
>> deciding what its center might be, you dismiss it as a mere 
>> list of technologies.
> I don't think so. You used the term "Web community" and claimed that the web
> community used certain technologies. I wondered what you meant by "web
> community", since I find it hard to imagine any developer who isn't
> concerned with developing web applications and wouldn't regard themselves as
> part of the web community. And you then defined the web community (almost)
> as the set of people who use those particular technologies. So I don't think
> you've told us anything useful.

Hmm.... first you complain about people who don't take your technologies 
seriously enough.  Then, when it's proposed that maybe those people form 
a community of their own, taking certain technologies more seriously 
than yours, you dismiss the existence of community centered on those 

You "find it hard to imagine any developer who isn't concerned with 
developing web applications and wouldn't regard themselves as part of 
the web community" - but you forget that communities aren't just an 
aggregation of people who decide they want a particular label. 
Communities come out of relationships between people over a long period 
of time, based on commonalities they discuss, work on, and value.

Sure, people can just walk into this list and declare themselves part of 
the "XML community", but how long will it take before that community 
lets those newcomers define what "the XML community" means?

A long time.  That's the kind of community I'm talking about here with 
"web community".  It's not just a label - it's a set of practices, best 
practices, conversations, and disputes.  It's centered around a core set 
of technologies, which are open to slow change.  As Liam pointed out 
earlier, CSS mostly replaced the font tag, without the community 
changing much.

XSLT still hasn't succeeded in making that transition.  1.0 is now there 
in the browser, but it's pretty much on the fringes for most web 
development communities.

>> Might I suggest you spend more time at Web-centered 
>> conferences, on mailing lists, and such?  They're not hard to find.
> The web is the universe: "web-centred" to me sounds a bit like
> "universe-centred". 

I suspect that usage of "web-centred" has something to do with not 
actually having spent much time in communities that consider themselves 
web-centric.  (Apart from the W3C, perhaps, though that's a long and 
complex story.)

> I think we have to focus on particular areas within that
> vast space. Perhaps you mean "browser-centred"? But the browser is at the
> edge of the web, not at the centre.

I don't think you'll have much luck changing the terminology used at, 
say, Web Visions, SXSW, Web 2.0 Expo, or the seemingly infinite number 
of lists and conferences about web development that seem to have a 
reasonably clear idea of who they are and why they exist.  Yes, they 
cover the whole web - but their conversation depends on a vision of the 
Web that you would doubtless call "browser-centric".

Ten years later, it's clearer and clearer why XSL didn't take the Web by 
storm!  I guess I really had nothing to worry about.

Simon St.Laurent

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