Reserved names and documentation

Bryan Cooper bryan.cooper at
Tue Jan 5 21:21:04 GMT 1999

I agree with this line of thinking.    There's a lot going on but I've got
deadlines to meet.  I think this would be tough if you are trying
to build a totally generic tool using XML since it means more and
more flavors coming at you.  Such a tool would be a moving target.

For some of us, we are not trying to handle arbitrary XML, but instead
have the luxury of using XML between different modules of our own projects.

Right now, therefore, I am doing my project
with plain XML and my own DTD as I don't see the other tools as far enough along 
to justify their approach.  That is, I am on UNIX and using Python xmllib,
plus another C based "ltxml" which provides faster xml searching within
the various xml files generated by the project.  So right off, I get 2 good
xml tools into my project.  BTW, I have already done some serious
progress with just a few weeks of actual coding experience this way
in Python..

My review of the other tools for RDF and any other project is that they
aren't available yet for my project.  One reason though I want to use
XML now is so that at some point, I can incorporate those features into
my project.  Lets say I want later to use RDF because some tool is now
really going to help me with RDF files.  I can go back, update all the XML
files I have into an appropriate RDF format, and the new tool will work.
I would also have to update my program to handle parsing the
changed RDF tags.  While I am doing that, my old program and data
files will keep chugging along.

It may mean updating literally thousands of XML based files but hey, so what?
It won't take that long, and it will work.   (I may even put in RDF
syntax now but ignore it...)  I think XML is a good
starting point for different projects because it is opening the door
for tools that can all work from the same type of data.     In
that sense, it is equivalent to SQL as a method of data storage.
For my current project, XML is a method of command storage, where
I am creating commands , options, parameters, keywords, metadata
all in XML.  The type of user data I am working with would make RDF a natural
choice in addition to the above, BUT it isn't ready yet.

At 12:14 PM 1/5/99 -0800, Jeffrey E. Sussna wrote:
>I understand that XML names starting in "xml" are reserved. My concern is how people find out what the defined reserved names are, without having to read every XML spec out there. I also have a related, larger concern that the XML universe will quickly become unmanageable. For example, to understand Microsoft's preview release of XML schemas, you need to understand XML Data and DCD. To understand DCD you have to understand RDF. And so on... All these ancillary specs are useful and worthwhile. It is clear that the XML language definition itself is necessary but not sufficient to do meaningful work. The danger is, though, that one will have to keep a pile of specs on one's desk in order to proceed. Perhaps this is no different than having to read several hundred pages of Toolbox Reference in order to write a Macintosh application. Nonetheless, I think it bears thought. Taken together, XML Data + RDF + ICE + WebDAV + whatever else represent a set of Web API's, with XML as the API definition language. Having worked with numerous large API's in the past (Smalltalk, Macintosh Toolbox, MacApp, Win32, etc.), I believe it's critical to try to make these Web API's as coherent and accessible as possible. I would like to encourage a meta-effort to examine and manage how all the generic (as opposed to vertical market) XML-based specs relate to one another.
>Kuantech, Inc.                  
>Jeffrey E. Sussna, Principal                     jes at
>Distributed Content Architectures for Dynamic Online Applications
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F. Bryan Cooper	 		707 823 7324 
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