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

David Megginson david at megginson.com
Sun Feb 21 16:19:30 GMT 1999

Simon St.Laurent writes:

 > 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.

[Here's a suggestion -- whenever the XML 1.0 spec says "document",
quietly substitute the word "packet" in your mind and everything will
be OK.]

Personally, I am very excited about the idea of using XML for streams
-- that was one of my strongest motivations during the initial SAX
design process, and at least personally, I'm trying hard to ensure
that the Information Set is as applicable to event-based APIs as it is 
to tree-based APIs.  

Or, to put it more bluntly, Megginson Technologies is making more
money helping companies with data-interchange (streaming and
non-streaming) than it is in the old document-publishing market, and
I'm not so selfless that I'd fail to notice a trend like that.

Now, having said all of that, I'd like to go on and say that Paul was
absolutely correct -- the Infoset WG is not chartered to steer a bold
new course for XML; we're chartered to define the underlying
information set of an XML 1.0 document, as defined in the associated
W3C recommendation.

Personally (again), I'd be in no hurry to rewrite XML 1.0 even if the
WG were chartered to do so -- companies are reluctant to invest big
dollars in unstable technologies, and with all of the higher-level
changes, it's essential that XML 1.0 remain as stable as possible for
at least a while longer (modulo a few errata, etc.).

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at megginson.com

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