Musing over Namespaces
cbullard at hiwaay.net
Sun Dec 19 01:26:18 GMT 1999
Dan Brickley wrote:
> I didn't take Tim to be arguing against decentralisation, but against
> the multitude of companies/organisations who both promote the
> centralised monolithic (meta)data registry approach, and
> (coincidentally) attempt to promote themselves as providing that
I guess that includes OASIS. Too bad. It has a chance of
being a significant organization in this. I've really no
objection to ANY company selling such a service. I can
think of many small companies for which it may be useful
in the same sense as bookies are to horse races but when
you look at the models for contracting used for very large
transactions, it is much more useful if each B2B interface
is established dynamically. Otherwise, faster simply means
less quality. Review the decline of the airline industry
services as they reach saturation. But my point is, if there
is going to be one, we are better served if there are lots
of them. Caveat Emptor. If OASIS wants to do it, I certainly
hope MS does, and Sun does, and MaAndPaRegistry do too.
The real product by which ecom-ecologies will be judged is the
quality of the experience both in getting the product
and in using the product. Quality is coupled to profit.
As the profits become razor thin, the quality declines.
Faster, better, cheaper: pick any two.
> One of the supposed big wins of using the same syntax/model for our
> meta-languages and our instance data is re-use, synergy.
Yes. I am aware. See the experience of the CALS community with
this and in fact, the entire history of markup since type definitions
were added to the original generic coding designs. Most attempts at
I don't think it was the fault of the registry designers
or anything sinister. It has to do with defining and maintaining
visible and hidden definitions of processes which preserve profit.
So, reuse is cool but not the goal, just an optimization. If the
effect of B2B and B2Customer is to suck out the local profit (think
for example, sales tax), the result is the destabilization of the
local ecologies just as super malls killed downtowns. Except in this
case, China Kills California. It happens fast. I suspect some
weird and typically badly informed debates are going on at high
levels of governments worldwide. I predict higher property taxes
but anyway, the point is, the local system declares its own
namespace, declares what is visible, and contracts for tests
of quality performance and deliverable.
It's called Logistics. Originally CALS was Computer-Aided Logistics
before it became Commerce At Light Speed. The WebSters are about
to repeat the same mistake made by the CALS groups when they chose to
take a bridge too far.
> Eg. if RDF and XML vocabularies are themselves described using RDF and
> XML, then generic discovery/indexing/trust systems applicable to _all_
> XML/RDF content should be equally applicable to schemas.
The fate of RDF is irrelevant. It is a means. I think the topic
map folks already had most of this ground covered but that is a means
too. It does have some interesting running code to back it up.
> Why then
> promote centralised registries for all schemas? Surely there will be
> search engines and 'trusted third parties' for schema data, as there
> will be for other applications of XML and RDF.
Surely. Now what will they do with that namespace? What is it useful
for other than as David is pointing out in the sibling thread,
> By defining schema
> languages in instance syntax, we implicitly promote the idea that there
> will be some big payoff for doing so (otherwise, lets stick with
There is some payoff:
1. Political. XML can finally dissolve the XML to SGML parentage.
2. Technically. It is a stronger schema model.
There are some downsides too:
1. Politically. It is absurdly complicated to explain. It needs
so many names to name the names, it vindicates the Hytime work
2. It is limited unnecessarily. I have to go back an look, but
unless arrays have been added it is incomplete. Even if one
can simulate that in the application language, the experience has
been when the implementors have to do an unreasonable amount of
work to get the same results as familiar means, they opt for
familiar means or they adapt and create similar means which
they make more useful in their own application.
In other words, it may be the case that schemas aren't the
best or only means and may not become the preferred means.
A lot depends on how other language communities perceive them
and other economic ecologies provide alternatives.
> Some synergy that means generic tools will be applicable to
> schemata. I find this impossible to reconcile with the
> www.really-important-trusted-metaregistry.[com|org] approach that seems
> popular in the industry. I'm banking on doing schema searches at the
> mainstream search engines in 2-3 years time...
Yes. It concerns me if the community of XML developers are not yet
recognizing that. OTOH, if you do, you are ahead so Get It While
The Getting Is Good.
We need a discussion of common models of contracting. How is an
ROA declared and maintained by an organization to organization
process. The models we used at a decade ago used the
process/control design familiar to systems analysts. There
were interesting parallels with real time systems but those
may not be as important as I once thought they were.
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