an unfilled need

Arjun Ray aray at
Tue Sep 7 06:23:49 BST 1999

On Mon, 6 Sep 1999, Matthew Gertner wrote:

> No one objected to the W3C controlling XML at the onset because it was
> far from a foregone conclusion that XML was win over a number of
> plausible (but in retrospect clearly inferior) approaches. Now XML is
> mainstream and this no longer flies. 

Actually, the origin of XML as a W3C activity was irregular: it didn't
become an approved activity until Summer '97, at which point the ERB+WG
structure (with a "closed but public" mailing list) was reorganized into
the new WG+SIG (and the mailing list was sucked into the Members Area.) 
The original list did make of use of W3C facilities (generously extended),
but my impression is that there was a "wait and see" approach at work, and
XML wasn't really -ahem- assimilated until it had proved itself in the
form of the Nov'96 draft.

> Lack of complete buyin (not to mention open hostility)  from XML
> developers is certainly not in the W3C's interest, and only opens the
> way for Microsoft and other major players to step in with their own
> proprietary (and inevitably less well thought out) approaches.

I would argue that it was in Microsoft et al's *interest* to "close" XML
to the wider community.  How else could they exploit standardization as a
marketing tool?

I'll just point out that namespaces were discussed exhaustively at least
twice on the WG/SIG.  Avaliable to the public is the discussion of
Microsoft's "Structured Data" proposal in May '97: SD5 was about


Very very unfortunately, the discussion preceding the XML Namespaces Draft
was on the new list, which the public can't see.  (Since the SIG has been
dead for a year, the reasons why the archive shouldn't be made public seem
to be political.)


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