ATTN: Please comment on XHTML (before it's too late)

David Megginson david at
Sun Aug 29 22:07:19 BST 1999

W. Eliot Kimber writes:

 > > You and I, Paul have seen too many worthy specs fail completely
 > > because of superfluous complexity -- HyTime, Topic Maps, and DSSSL
 > > (and Architectural Forms) spring immediately to mind, but they hardly
 > > stand alone. 
 > This is pure flame bait and has no place in this discussion. 

Apologies -- I listed these because (with the exception of Topic Maps,
which I don't know as well) they're all specs that I was personally
very fond of and spent a lot of time working with.

Unfortunately, simply satisfying requirements is not a reasonable
success measurement for specifications.  The only justifiable reason
for putting time and effort into standardization (especially for an
International Standard) is to achieve the network effect, so that a
lot of people sharing the same spec can share information and/or
implementation work: boxcars can run on more than one railroad's
tracks, IP packets can travel across more different kinds of networks,
I can plug more than one brand of phone into my wall, I can use the
standard C++ library on both Unix and Windows, etc.

Perhaps it's too early to judge, and HyTime and DSSSL might still
reach this point, but they have not done so yet despite the enormous
efforts that people like James Clark, Paul Prescod, Eliot Kimber, and
me have put into implementing and explaining them.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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