XML Information Set Requirements, W3C Note 18-February-1999

Tim Bray tbray at textuality.com
Sat Feb 20 16:33:06 GMT 1999

At 08:49 AM 2/20/99 -0500, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
>It seems that some of XML's original denizens aren't too happy about
>proposals for making XML useful in a broader set of fields than document
>publishing and interchange.  Paul pours cold water on having the Infoset
>group ponder anything new, and James says he'll be disappointed because XML
>is no longer focused on its original problem set.

I think that it's massively cool that XML is turning out to be useful 
in so many areas.  I also think that in particular, the problem area 
people here have been kicking around - how to deal with an endless 
stream of XML chunks - is one that really needs attention, and I know 
for a fact that other development groups here and there are grappling 
with it.

There's another problem that may be related and may be distinct; that's
the packaging problem - how do you package up a bunch of related chunks
of XML (document + stylesheet + schema, or web of hyperlinked
documents, or small set of documents comprising a transaction) for
delivery?  Is MIME the answer?  Is this the same problem as the
infinite-stream problem?  

I strongly encourage the denizens of this list to invest some
time in attacking these problems, and if there are places where
standards need to be written, go write them.

Where I'd side with Paul Prescod is that XML currently has a big
hole in that the spec doesn't say what the "official" contents
of an XML document are, and someone needs to write this down.  This
can be done straightforwardly and I think it needs to be done in
the Infoset work.

It shouldn't be held back by attempting to solve a whole bunch
of other (real, important) problems. -Tim

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