W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-dom-xpath@w3.org > May 2000

Is minimalism a goal?

From: Jonathan Marsh <jmarsh@microsoft.com>
Date: Wed, 3 May 2000 17:27:17 -0700
Message-ID: <116DFD732FA92E4D9B647C8EEF6DAF1015588B@red-pt-02.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
To: www-dom-xpath@w3.org
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Champion [mailto:Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com]

> I've certainly learned a lot from the first few days of 
> discussions here,
> although I can imagine that it's a bit overwhelming for some!

I'll say, I just subscribed and went through the archives to get up to
speed.  A lot of interesting ideas here!  My first observations are about
the premises of this effort.

There is an inevitable tension between feature requests and bloat, as this
mailing list has shown.  Personally, I feel DOM is already bloated almost
beyond useability, while simultaneously missing vital functionality.  I
include XPath support in the latter category.  I use our selectNodes method
extensively - more often than virtually any other DOM call.  In fact,
selectNodes makes a number of DOM calls redundant, results in more robust
code, and performs better in general.

I observe that one person's feature is another person's bloat, and that in
my experience the standardization process leads to a union of everyone's
features rather than the intersection.

There are several directions for XPath APIs to take:
- minimal, convenience-oriented (e.g. Microsoft/Oracle selectNodes)
- complete (e.g. full context initialization, matching, etc.)
- performant (complete + compiled queries, streaming support, etc.)

Is this list converging on one of these directions?  Deciding early on what
the goal is will smooth the entire process.  Noteably, if the minimal option
is chosen it must be assiduously defended.  I've never seen minimalism
succeed at the W3C, which is a shame.  Can we buck that trend?
Received on Wednesday, 3 May 2000 20:27:58 UTC

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