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Re: Language politics and DOM bindings

  • From: Lauren Wood <lauren@s...>
  • To: xml-dev@x...
  • Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001 15:49:04 -0800

language politics

Uche Ogbuji wrote:

> > I can't say authoritatively, but I believe that the
> > DOM WG members would see an official Python binding as a "good thing" ... as
> > long as someone was willing to do the work required.  I think the mechanism
> > defined by the W3C Process to do this kind of thing is to make a
> > "Submission".  See
> >
> http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Process/Process-19991111/submission.html#Submission
> 
> Thanks for the ref, but as you suggest, it seems to allow only submissions
> by W3C members.  I don't know if the XML SIG has anyone working for such
> an organization.

It's quite possible that someone either works for such an organization,
or knows someone
who works for such an organization; there's a list of the member
organizations at 
http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Member/List

> > The DOM WG actually considered committing itself to do a C++ binding, and to
> > the best of my recollection the memory management issue was the largest nail
> > in that idea's coffin.  I'm not completely sure, and don't care to
> > second-guess exactly why that decision was made ... in retrospect, you may
> > well be right that memory management shouldn't have been a consideration.
> 
> I'm willing to bet it was DOM WG laziness.  In C++, memory management is a
> matter of adhering to Bjarne Stroustroup's simple and effective rule that
> "resource aqcuisition is initialization".

My memory is that it wasn't solely a memory management issue; it was
more that nobody volunteered to do all the work of figuring out a C+
binding that would take into account things including memory management,
and the fact that COM and non-COM systems have different requirements.
Since I was chair of the DOM WG at the time, I can tell you that it
wasn't that we were being lazy. With hindsight, maybe we should have
taken an extra 2-4 months to figure out the C++ bindings for Level 1; at
the time we were being yelled at for taking too long any way and any
extra time for another binding would have been hard to justify without
*somebody* standing up and saying it was necessary. I can't remember
anyone at the time (late 1998) saying that a C++ or Python binding was
necessary for Level 1. Now, of course, doing a C++ binding would be
extremely difficult, since there are lots of DOM implementations that
use C++ that look different to each other. Even if the DOM WG were now
to develop a C++ binding, I wouldn't keep my hopes up that many people
would implement it.

> > So, it's not a matter of the "W3C" agreeing or disagreeing with any of this,
> > it's mainly a matter of whether any members commit the resources to help
> > make it happen.  As near as I can tell, that's how the W3C "draws the line"
> > between what gets done and what doesn't.
> 
> I disagree.  I would likely volunteer to write a Python binding (Fred
> Drake, Paul Prescod and I, among others have already done a good deal of
> the work), but we're not W3C members.

Then I suggest you email the chair of the DOM WG (Phillipe Le H├ęgaret,
W3C) and ask that he discuss the issue with the DOM WG, pointing out
that you will do the work. You might like to also point out whether this
offer of doing Python bindings extends to all modules in Levels 2 and 3
as well as Level 1. I'm no longer on the DOM WG, so I don't know how
this suggestion would be taken. 

Also, I don't know enough about the Python bindings to know whether the
same problem shows up there as in Perl. The problem with defining a
single Perl binding is that the XML::DOM module uses a Java-style
binding (e.g., getFirstChild), while those implementations which use the
Microsoft Automation system tend to use an ECMA Script-style binding
(e.g., firstChild). Is there a similar issue in Python?

If the entire Python community uses a single binding, then it won't be
as much of a problem as if there are differences. If there are
differences, the biggest amount of work would be to get the Python
community using the bindings to figure out what they want.

Lauren

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