Will OASIS matter? (was OASIS individual memberships)

Dan Brickley Daniel.Brickley at bristol.ac.uk
Fri Jul 9 21:01:05 BST 1999

On Fri, 9 Jul 1999, Andrew Layman wrote:

> Adding to what David said, W3C management have made it clear that the W3C is
> not going to generally be in the position of endorsing domain-specific DTDs
> or schemas.  This means that DTDs and schemas are going to need other
> development and cataloging services, e.g. Oasis and BizTalk.

There's a big distinction there between development and cataloguing;
simply being able to _find_ pertinent DTDs and schemata doesn't strike
me as a great value added service. Development, on the other hand....

We already have an industry focussed around discovery and cataloguing:
web search engines, portals, directories. We're already seeing
things such as specialised MP3 search options as natural extensions of
these; since XML schemas are just more Web data, it seems to me likely
that a few such services will start offering schema-oriented searches.

Trust is of course a big issue -- but if professional societies and
industry bodies could circulate (by email, NNTP, CD-ROM) digitally signed
schemata and inter-schema crosswalks, these would fit very well into the
search-engine oriented approach to discovery. Oasis, BizTalk might take
on this role, but I'd imagine the existing engines would be well set up
to compete.

Development, discussion, data modelling and consensus building,
(particularly regarding vocabulary overlap), seems of far more
importance. And this latter is a very human, social service which
might(?I've no idea) turn out to need input from more stakeholders than
are inclined to pay to join.  It's this "community centre" aspect, and
prospect of such communities pragmatically blessing certain schemas,
which seems a plausible role for OASIS, BizTalk etc. Any techno-centric
database, search, cataloguing role seems to be in direct competion with
the major search services.
I can't see any technical reason why solutions for discovery
and trust w.r.t. normal XML (and HTML and MP3...) documents won't also
serve equally well for discovery and trust management of XML schemata,
mappings, crosswalks, business rules etc etc. After all, wasn't this
synergy the whole point of moving to an XML syntax for next-generation
DTDs? (ie. to allow the special case to borrow technology from the
general one). 



Daniel.Brickley at bristol.ac.uk                  
Institute for Learning and Research Technology http://www.ilrt.bris.ac.uk/
University of Bristol,  Bristol BS8 1TN, UK.   phone:+44(0)117-9287096

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