Dissillusioned about interoperability.

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at simonstl.com
Fri Oct 8 00:41:40 BST 1999

>On Thu, 7 Oct 1999, Kent Sievers wrote:
>> Even after we have conversions that take care of disagreements over tag
>data types and allowed values (i.e. the point at which we would expect to
reap a 
>huge benefit from XML) we are still doing as much conversion as when we
had our own 
>proprietary (non-XML) format.
>> In essence, because XML has been "flexible to the point of a
free-for-all" when it comes to representing "simple name/value pairs", we
have almost no interoperability.

At 11:25 PM 10/7/99 +0100, Dan Brickley wrote:
>Sounds like you could've done with some common abstract data model, and
>treated all these different syntaxes as alternate ways of shipping the
>same facts around. Is that too crass a thing to say? My personal bias is
>towards RDF for the common model, but RDF or no, sounds like there's a
>need to be up front about there being multiple ways of expressing the
>same underlying information...

To me, it sounds like you could do with some tools for mapping different
data structures that represent similar underlying data structures to a
common model.  The problem isn't that XML is too flexible; rather, it's
that no one has yet built something handy for making "everyone else's
representation" into "my representation". It doesn't seem like a light
project, but it doesn't seem impossible, either.

It'd get you out of:
a) having to define all your models in advance
b) forcing everyone to use identical representations

I wish I had more time, I really do.  Anybody else done something like this?

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
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