XML-DEV motives (was Re: XML IDL and XML RPC)

Peter Murray-Rust peter at ursus.demon.co.uk
Sat Sep 26 10:22:04 BST 1998

At 19:47 22/09/98 -0700, Rex Brooks wrote:
>Hi all,
>I only recently subscribed to this mailing list in order to better
>understand xml and how it was developing in relation to IDL and distributed
>computing in general. I am beginning to be gravely disappointed at the
>extent to which this is a list mainly populated by self-serving vendors and
>authors. Is this really true, or am I just stepping in during a
>particularly ugly patch of competing offers?

I act as 'moderator' of this list - I've been away for a few days and
haven't yet read the thread that you refer to. It's extremely uncommon for
competitive commercial postings on this list. We do (gently) encourage
factual product announcements when they seem to bring new functionality. 

XML-DEV was created as a list for developers [small 'd' - i.e. not
necessarily commercial] of XML applications and other resources. It has
managed to make considerable contributions in that way. Much of the
software and resources announced have had an OpenSource-like license (and
some contributors have changed their license in response to public pressure
from the list.)

XML-DEV has shown itself to be a virtual community which is capable of
extremely high-quality work. The SAX interface (read the history on
http://www.megginson.com/SAX) was developed in open process over a very
short timescale with ca. 100 contributors. SAX (IMO) avoided the potential
Babel of competing XML parser APIs and is universally adopted by commercial
and non-commercial developers. XSchema is currently going through the final
stages of a similar process. On many occasions discussion has resolved
confusion and identified valuable resources.

Historically XML started from the W3C which is a vendor-led consortium.
Mots of the original creators of XML (which included a 100-strong SIG) were
from commercial orgs - there are a handful of us (ca 5) who are academics.
It's not surprising that the early traffic on XML-DEV is from those people.
Many of them have made enormous personal contributions from their spare
time (XML-geeks don't have much of a life...) and very few are required to
post to XML-DEV by their employers.

What I think we really need for XML is an enthusiast community beyond the
commercial developers. There should be much more academic involvement
(especially grad students). There are wonderful projects simply crying out
to be hacked. I've urged this several times. How can we reach them? 

So, I think you may have hit a misleading patch :-). 

>Soon to unsubscribe:
>Rex Brooks

Please don't - and get some students involved !


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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