What Clean Specs Achieve, WAS: Colonialism, SAX, Java, and Namespaces

Rob Schoening rschoening at unforgettable.com
Mon Feb 8 20:49:34 GMT 1999

>>Bill la Forge wrote:
>>> One of the big advantages of Java is that a small shop can
>>> tackle significant projects. With clean specs, the same will
>>> be true for XML.
>>Hands up, who has read the Java spec (and that's not the same as reading
>>the nice clear instructions given to you by the people who wrote the

  This spec debate is missing the point.  Languages like C and Java have
clean specs because the language design is also clean.  The fact that their
specs are clean follows from the fact that the people who wrote the clean
language will write a clean spec!

  XML's problems do not turn on its specs.  The central problem is that the
question "What is XML?" has no definite answer.  Between XML proper,
Namespaces, DOM, SAX, XSL, et al, it seems pretty obvious to me that there
is nothing unifying this chaos.  

  Java has its core classes.
  C has C library.
  C++ has the C library and STL.
  Unix has unix tools!
  Perl has its standard modules.

  XML has nothing of the kind.  I hate to sound pessimistic, but if things
are left to evolve this way, XML is going to become just another
open-standard *file format*.  

  XML desperately needs an XDK.  Moreover, the XDK's component parts need to
be developed as if they were part of a whole.


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