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Re: [xmlProfiles-29] TAG recommendation for work on subset of XML 1.1

From: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 19:12:06 -0500
To: "Ian B. Jacobs" <ij@w3.org>
Cc: Michael Sperberg-McQueen <cmsmcq@w3.org>, Liam Quin <liam@w3.org>, Paul Grosso <pgrosso@arbortext.com>, www-tag@w3.org, fallside@us.ibm.com, lehors@us.ibm.com
Message-ID: <OFB5ECC40D.8AE84698-ON85256CBE.0081CE89@lotus.com>

Ian Jacobs writes (for Norm Walsh, author of this summary, and Stuart 
Williams and Tim Berners-Lee, TAG co-Chairs):

> In short, it appears that a new Recommendation-track document
> that defines a subset of XML 1.1 should be developed:
> 
>    * The subset must be backwards compatible with XML 1.1.
>    * The subset must define a language that excludes DTD
>      declarations.
> 
> How the new Recommendation is constructed we leave to the
> editorial discretion of the group that undertakes it.

I don't personally feel that I've seen from the Tag an analysis that 
definitively supports the conclusion that a subset or profile 
recommendation is the best course.  I'm not unsympathetic to the 
conclusion, just not feeling that it's been adequately justified.  As 
Ian's note mentions, the costs in customer confusion and loss of interop 
are potentially significant (e.g. I bought a perfectly good XML processor 
and it wouldn't handle this XML 1.0 document with an internal subset), and 
I don't think we've got more than an intuition that a subset would hit a 
sweet spot for potential users (do they all really benefit from the same 
subset?) 

Speaking for myself, I would prefer that the TAG request that the 
responsible workgroup (presumably core) go through a more formal W3C 
requirements gathering process (or rechartering process, if necessary), 
including some form of review and feedback from the membership, to confirm 
or refute the TAG's intuition that a subset is on balance a good idea. I'd 
like to hear more, for example, from those who would have to build and 
deploy the associated software, including not just parsers but also 
databases, editors and other tools.  I would also look for the input of 
customers and others who would use the results.  All of these communities 
would have to deal with the coexistence of the old and new profiles. 
Again, the subset may well prove to be a great idea...I just think it's 
worth following a more traditional W3C process of involving the 
responsible workgroup and the membership in making that decision.

BTW:  I have no problem with the possibility that the core group would in 
parallel with requirements gathering rough out and informally publicize 
some "strawperson" ideas for what a subset might be, as I think that such 
an exercise can be useful in focussing the requirements analysis, and in 
minimizing the "time to market" if the subset proves justified. 

Also:  though I'm sure it's unintentional, I think Ian's note gives a 
somewhat skewed view of SOAP's rules for disallowing (not discouraging! 
... see [1], 3rd para.) PIs, and of the underlying reasons.  I can see why 
the TAG would not want to restate all that, but I think that a direct 
reference to [2] would be helpful in future summaries of SOAP's position. 

Thank you!

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/CR-soap12-part1-20021219/
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2002Dec/0119.html

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Noah Mendelsohn                              Voice: 1-617-693-4036
IBM Corporation                                Fax: 1-617-693-8676
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Received on Thursday, 30 January 2003 19:13:36 GMT

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