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Re: NextXML.org - a working space.

  • From: BillClare3@aol.com
  • To: elharo@ibiblio.org
  • Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2010 10:17:35 EST

Re:  NextXML.org - a working space.
We are a very disparate group here, coming from many different backgrounds, many with a very particular focus. 
 
Consensus, as you say, is difficult and indeed impossible.  Consensus in a variety of smaller areas seems feasible.  For a more comprehensive approach, there will need to evolve some decision process with something like a "chief architect".
 
One of the worst dangers here is that support from a commercial supplier of browsers will be necessary, and they will be motivated to run away with early and incomplete approaches.   
 
Maybe the exercise can be organized usefully though.
 
Organization is fundamental and I'm sure will, and certainly must, evolve in unforeseeable ways.  The following illustrates one possibility for a general framework. 
 
As a starting point there seems to be two fundamentally different camps; both useful, but in quite different ways, but needing separate areas of development:
 
* Those who advocate incremental, evolutionary and reasonably compatible change in a variety of areas.
   Here what is needed is a series of topics that can be easily created and evolved towards some sort of formal recommendation.  Here only partial consensus is needed;  e.g., I suspect two, hopefully complementary, approaches for comments will evolve.
 
 
* Those who advocate radical, revolutionary change, albeit with compatibility considerations.
   Here there needs to an outline of topics to be developed.   
 
   The latter is more difficult. Separate topics for objectives, requirements, specifications, design principles, design issues, document guidelines etc. is an obvious starting point.  In the long run, these can evolve from discussion entries to an area for formal resolution and public documentation.
 
   A single outline of separate topics for a unified and complete specification set is more complicated.  In my own notes, I find it difficult to focus on one topic without referring to many others.  For instance, concepts of modularity, inheritance, referencing in general, links, path expressions, queries, (replacing) namespaces, packages, templates, etc. all become bound together.
 
   I would not be surprised to see several outlines of topics evolving, each attempting to be complete and comprehensive from a different perspective.  These should be allowed to evolve freely.  This would then be complemented by a rigorous integration effort to tie the best of all the topics into a coherent whole.
 
  This is only one possibility for part of the website, but it can combine the best of two development approaches; i.e., a wide variety of inputs with integration by a small set of individuals. 
 
 
In a message dated 12/5/2010 7:57:01 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, elharo@ibiblio.org writes:
I suspect that's a little premature. It's not enough to agree that
there should be a next XML, if we don't have some plausible idea of
what that means. So far what I'm gathering is that there's not
anything approaching consensus on what the next XML should be, if
anything. If what we have is 20 different folks pulling in 20
different directions, then this is pointless (though it's interesting
to find that out). So far, we have fundamental disagreements on:

1. Remove some syntax or support all existing syntax
2. Add new syntax or don't add new syntax.
3. Add new semantics or don't add new semantics.
4. Schema based or schema agnostic.
5. Graph based or tree based

That's 2^5 possible combinations, or 32 separate positions. More may
be forthcoming, and I may have missed one or two. If there's just 0-2
folks falling in each camp, then I doubt we can do much. Personally I
was aiming for yes on 1 and 3, and no on 2, 4, and 5 (though some of
the discussion here is suggesting that 3 alone might be preferable) .
I was hoping a core group might coalesce that agreed on the
fundamentals. Or perhaps a couple of core groups that would do
different things and let the market decide. I'd love to see what a
graph-based markup language looked like, for example, though I suspect
that's really something de novo and not a new version of XML.

However I do not wish to repeat the W3C schema or WS-FOO experiences
where every party throws every personal feature into the hat and
produces an incoherent mess. Instead I'd like to repeat the XML 1.0
and XSLT 1.0 experiences where  a small group of interested folks with
a shared vision produces something clear that they can present to the
world. This will not be presented as a de jure standard that must be
adopted, but rather as, "Here's something cool that we worked on. Let
us know if you like it. Use it if it seems helpful."

Anyway, it's early yet. Not even the work week for most of us. Let's
see what Monday brings.

--
Elliotte Rusty Harold
elharo@ibiblio.org

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