Reserved names and documentation

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at
Tue Jan 5 21:52:49 GMT 1999

At 01:24 PM 1/5/99 -0800, Jeffrey E. Sussna wrote:
>From a practical point of view, Bryan is spot on. I am making the same 
>kinds of decisions myself. However, at some point the XML spec "family" 
>will be mature. It would be a shame if that mature set of specs lacked 
>coherency and was thus harder to use. 

There are a lot of potential conflicts between assorted XML technologies,
and rumor has it that the W3C is aware of them.  Namespace prefixes hate
validation.  XLink provides services that seem to overlap with entities, no
matter how much some insist that the don't, and the PI used for style
sheets provides yet another example of connecting resources using URLs.
XPointer is in some ways a query language. CSS and XSL are mutually
incompatible tools that do a lot of the same things.  Even in the XML 1.0
spec, valid and well-formed are pretty tightly locked in each other's
embrace, making it difficult to separate the parts for a reasonable
discussion or for a layered approach to parser development.

I make my living these days explaining these issues, but I do keep
wondering why they crop up so frequently. It may just be that it's a large
project.  I strongly hope that someone inside the W3C is watching for these
issues and striving to keep the working groups from entering each other's
turf.  A 'lack of coherency' would certainly be a shame, and there are too
many times when I see it.

Of course, the specs are still immature, and the chaos does fill my pages
quite rapidly, making my editors happy.  We'll see...

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer / Cookies
Sharing Bandwidth 
Building XML Applications (February)

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