Open Standards Processes

Frank Boumphrey bckman at
Fri Apr 24 20:21:22 BST 1998

.>>  Without XML-DEV I and others would be greatly
disadvantaged and I would not like to see it used to  criticise the XML

I don't think any of us were criticizing the XML process, I think it works
well, it would however for a variety of reasons be nice to know some thing
of what is going on in the W3 Ivory halls!.

    For example we know that am XSL proposal is going to come out in July,
we know that the are probably going to do away with HTML flow objects (too
confusing), but what are they going to replace it with.

    I have a book coming out in June and I really have to write in some
depth about XSL. I also have to use the msxsl processor for any examples,
but by the time the book hits the market, it is probably going to be
redundant and I will have to post numerous addenda to a web site!!

    I have "guessed" what direction XSL is going to take, but I could be
(and probably am) wrong. Now someone from Microsoft is a technical reviewer
of the book, and if he is nice he will tell me if I am way off, but then on
the other hand he may not because officially he is not allowed to.

    It would certainly be advantageous to authors, and probably also to
members of W3 if we were made privy at least in a partial way to the thought
processes of the committee's.

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Murray-Rust <peter at>
To: xml-dev at <xml-dev at>
Date: Friday, April 24, 1998 10:30 AM
Subject: Re: Open Standards Processes

>[... in reply to the perceived concerns about the XML process...]
>I am not part of the W3C membership, though I am party to XML-SIG
>discussions, so hopefully can take a neutral stand on this.
>XML-DEV has no formal standing in the W3C process. When we set it up the
>intention (which still holds) was to provide a forum complementary to the
>XML-SIG in which implementations could be discussed *as part of the process
>of developing the protocols*.  That has worked extremely well, IMO. There
>has been very high participation by the formal members of representatives
>of the W3C - it has been given freely without thought to commercial gain.
>Organisations join the W3C for enlightened self-interest - i.e. the
>financial *** and the staff investment *** is repaid by the returns.  I
>cannot speak for the members but I assume that the ability to shape the
>specs and to know when and what will be formally announced is well worth
>the investment.
>I am afraid it's a fact of life that not everyone has the same
>opportunities. There are pluses and minuses to working in rich/powerful
>organisations. I sympathise that individuals may feel 'second-class' in the
>XML process and I hope that XML-DEV can go some way to reducing this
>feeling. The Internet is essentially my only connection with the real-life
>XML community. (I occasionally meet people who pass through London where I
>live). Like many of you I cannot afford the registration fee to go to Paris
>or the other XML meetings and so most of you are 'virtual friends'. But
>without the discussion lists we wouldn't have any contact.
>I am an enthusiast, and an idealist for much of the time. The Internet
>fuels those and very occasionally something wonderful happens, without
>money, without formal organisation. I've occasionally been part of this in
>virtual education (e.g. the Globewide Network Academy). Some of what has
>happened on this list is similar. But I know that in reality 99% of
>progress requires formality and funding. My own view is that the XML
>process is a very impressive and laudable activity in creativity and
>What I value is that those who *are* part of the main XML community have
>given a great deal of their time on this list. I also feel that the views
>of individuals have almost always been listened to carefully and
>sensitively, in a way that is not very common in most 'standards'
>development processes.  Without XML-DEV I and others would be greatly
>disadvantaged and I would not like to see it used to  criticise the XML
> Cheers,
> P.
>Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
>net connection
>VSMS, Virtual Hyperglossary
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