Lotsa laughs

John Cowan cowan at locke.ccil.org
Wed May 26 22:04:07 BST 1999

Lisa Rein wrote:

> As far as your references to specifics on the BizTalk site go, I am
> still unable to get to those files without using IE5 - which I will get
> to eventually I suppose when I build up enough microsoft site-specific
> tasks to do so (how i've been handling the MS site for some time now
> since it seems the company has decided to require its own browser for a
> readible version of its site's content).

That problem arises because part of the content of biztalk.org is
expressed using non-compliant HTML.  It has nothing to do with
XML compliance.

> But let's just say for the sake of argument that the examples on the
> site were well-formed XML -- my question is this:   Just because the
> DOCUMENT examples they show are well-formed XML, isn't it the SCHEMAS
> that would be validating those documents that would be "breaking" the
> current implementations?

That's absurd.  You might as well say that SMIL "breaks" XML because
it imposes additional restrictions.  No, an XML-1.0-compliant parser
can't tell you whether a given document is SMIL.  Why should it
be able to?  As long as SMIL documents are well-formed XML (they are),
there is no problem.

> It was my understanding that, at this time,
> any schema syntax-based validation-mechanism, by definition, does not
> conform to the XML v. 1.0 Recommendation. Is this not true?

The XML 1.0 Rec does not *prescribe* any validation mechanism other
than DTDs.  Applications can, should, and must require validation
above what DTD-validation provides.

> Said another way:  Since a currently-implemented, XML v. 1.0-compliant
> validating parser would not be able to use a BizTalk schema to validate
> documents (since BizTalk schemas use syntax that is not specified in the
> version 1.0 Recommendation), wouldn't such an existing XML v.
> 1.0-compliant parser implementation "break" as a result, unless its
> creators had also implemented whatever additional, non-standard (and
> therefore proprietary) software that BizTalk requires?

"Nonstandard" does not mean proprietary.  SAX is not a standard,
but it is hardly proprietary.
> Wouldn't a more "compliant" BizTalk strategy be to have BizTalk using
> DTDs for now,

Biztalk restrictions may not be expressible using DTDs, which would
not be a deficiency.  The rules that specify RDF aren't specifiable
by a DTD either.

> That way, developers wouldn't have to choose one
> schema syntax over another (and at the expense of being incompatible
> with everything else) because the schema syntaxes would all be
> compatible - with each other AND early implementations that used the
> BizTalk DTDs for validation.

As long as the W3C-compliant schemas and the Microsoft schemas have
the same meaning, one may freely create Biztalk-compliant documents
without fear that they will change meanings.

> Also, on a less technical, more practical note: Why would anyone want to
> put time into using the BizTalk schemas if they know are going to just
> have to redo them again when Microsoft, in good faith, changes the
> BizTalk schemas over to the W3C's Schema syntax?

Distinguish between the syntax of Biztalk documents themselves,
and the syntax used to express the schemas that describe them.

> Why doesn't MS use the closest thing it can to the W3C Schema syntax for
> now, if it can't wait --rather than an undefined mishmash of two W3C
> member submissions and one unfinished white paper from almost year ago?

Maybe they don't understand the current Schema draft yet, not to mention
it is imcomplete as of now.

John Cowan	http://www.ccil.org/~cowan		cowan at ccil.org
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

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