Resource Description Format and XML-Data

W. Eliot Kimber eliot at
Thu Jan 29 18:57:06 GMT 1998

At 01:18 PM 1/29/98 -0500, David Durand wrote:

>   On the other hand, it does no good to overplay your cards. Eliot's
>assertion that extended DTD syntaxes will _never_ solve the semantics
>problems is over-stated in two ways. 

Good point.  I didn't mean to imply that the problem can't be solved within
defined constraints, only that it is, in the general case, unsolvable *by a
single specification*. Certainly within defined scopes we can and will do
all sorts of very useful things, and the XML Data spec is probably a good
example of that.

I mostly don't want people to underestimate the scope and implications of
the problems.  There are also non-obvious pitfalls, such as the EDD trap.
There are also a wide variety of potential candidates as methodologies and
off-the-shelf technologies. It will not be possible to sort these out and
arrive any sort of wide-scope consensus in a short period of time.  Trying
to define a single schema specification language that satisfies all the
requirements looks to me like the document analysis project from Hell.

That said, I think people should start hammering out schema mechanisms as
fast as they can--the more ideas the better.  But I think it would be
irresponsible for the W3C or any other standardizing body to embrace any
particular proposal too quickly.  If, for example, XML Data is a good idea,
let it prove it in the marketplace before trying to give it the W3C seal of
approval.  That's all I'm asking for.


<Address HyTime=bibloc>
W. Eliot Kimber, Senior Consulting SGML Engineer
Highland Consulting, a division of ISOGEN International Corp.
2200 N. Lamar St., Suite 230, Dallas, TX 95202.  214.953.0004

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