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

Bill la Forge b.laforge at jxml.com
Sat Feb 20 16:41:57 GMT 1999

From: Paul Prescod <paul at prescod.net>
>I'm not glum. It just is not the mandate of the infoset group to invent
>new purposes for XML. The infoset group is exactly like a supreme court
>interpreting -- but not changing -- the constitution, which in this case
>is the XML specification. The terminology used in the XML specification is
>"document". Therefore that should be the terminology used by the infoset
>As far as a "document focus" being limiting: XML's current popularity in
>all sorts of fields indicates that that is not the case. If you take a
>database and encode it for transmission over a wire then you have a
>document. If you encode a message from one computer to another then you
>also have a document. I don't see this view as in any way limiting XML's
>problem domain.

The issue here isn't a matter of inventing new purposes for XML.
The issue is more a matter of recognizing what is happening.

API like SAX and SAXON appear to have broad applicability beyond
applications where everything needs to be read into memory. It isn't just
streams, but very large documents too. The W3C's DOM and XSL are far too
expensive (and even unnecessary!) for the majority of XML's applications.

The real advantage of considering streams is that you are also accommodating
very large documents as well. This is an important consideration for the majority
of the XML community as it exists today.

Things like DOM and XSL and Coins all have their place. But SAX and 
SAXON and MDSAX are probably more important. You will observe that
SAXON 4.0 makes it easy to use DOM as needed, providing good
integration between DOM and non-DOM processing. The same is happening
with MDSAX/Coins.

I think the request here is that the W3C simply give some consideration for
large document and stream processing. Not doing so could create real 
problems for the entire industry.


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