Peter Murray-Rust peter at ursus.demon.co.uk
Thu May 7 10:36:22 BST 1998

[many people] wrote:
[... interesting material snipped ...]

Though deliberately neutral about the ethics and validity of XMLogenesis,
it's very important that the contributions of the *people* involved is
highlighted and valued. I think I can take an appropriately dispassionate
view of SGML, not being a practitioner.

I have found the commitment of the WG members to the XML process and their
technical ability to be outstanding. I have been privileged on XML-SIG to
see the (often weekly) reports from the WG and the frequent list of
questions that were addressed to the SIG. What may not be generally
realised is that the WG *worked very hard indeed at the nitty-gritty as
well as the strategy*. When the XML process ran into problems
someone/subgroup on the WG would be asked to take the problem away and come
back with a proposal that addressed the queries raised by the SIG. I
remember several summaries that, after a really intractable discussion,
were a delight to read.

During the whole process there was never a hint of vested interests.
Occasionally there is the sort of statement - " I don't think my colleagues
would find it easy to use this", "We do this, and it works for us", etc.
But not "FooCorp would see X as giving away market advantage".  And,
although I have no knowledge of the companies involved, I suspect their has
been enlightened managerial oversight in allowing so much effort to be put
into this process. I have no doubt it will amply repay this investment,
since XML has to be a corporate philosophy as well as  a technology.

There is no doubt that we owe a great deal to the XML-WG (and related
groups) and I have found the process to be wholly admirable. I am trying to
champion it in my own vertical area (chemistry) as an efficient, creative,
democratic and open process. It's probably impossible to combine all of
these, but most current efforts in chemical informatics could learn a great
deal from it.


Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
net connection
VSMS http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vsms, Virtual Hyperglossary

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