SAX: anti-goals

David Ornstein davido at
Mon Jan 5 17:52:03 GMT 1998

Hello all,

In the ongoing design discussion we've been having, it seems that there's a
lack of clarity about what SAX will be used for and what it won't.  This is
slowing down and creating confusion in some of the discussions.  While
attempting to enumerate goals/requirements is a good idea at the start of a
process, it can sometimes be quite difficult because people get hung up on
being complete.  Instead, one approach I sometimes take is to define
"anti-goals."  An anti-goal is a declaration of what one is *not* trying to
do/support/achieve in a design.  They are not things you're trying to
avoid, in fact some of the best anti-goals are ones that describe things
that would be very nice to have but have agreed to place out of scope.  The
incremental accumulation of anti-goals during a design process can help
keep things on track.  
<wry>And the list can later be used when retrospectively constructing a
list of a project's goals.</wry>

My read is that we seem to have a strong leaning towards the following

* SAX is not being designed to support configurations where the parser is
in one language and the client is in a different language

* SAX is not being designed to support identity transformations of an XML
document('s physical structure)

* SAX is not being designed to be usable in building a DOM tree [Actually,
my personal suspicion is that this one is likely to generate lots of hot

Do others agree/disagree with these as our anti-goals?  If so, I'd propose
that, to help keep us (and new folks) on track, they be included in any
summaries of the SAX work we put out.

<note>I don't necessarily like all of these goals, personally, as they
reduce SAX's utility for me.  I'm just suggesting that  they do seem to
where we're heading.</note>


David Ornstein
Pragmatica, Inc.

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