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TAG Response to request to consider XML Schema 1.1 (was: Re: Five mechanical approaches to make an XSD profile without getting bogged by individual issues)

From: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2009 09:57:17 -0400
To: Rick Jelliffe <rjelliffe@allette.com.au>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF012C4A4F.A4E832D7-ON852575C9.00488C6D-852575C9.004CA938@lotus.com>

Before responding to your note, let me formally convey to you news that I 
infer you have already seen, perhaps from reading the draft of our 
minutes.  For the benefit of those who may find this note in years to 
come, this is in response to your request [1] that the TAG:

"instruct, influence or otherwise encourage the XML Schema Working Group 
to put XSD 1.1 on hold and instead to work on a radical relayering into a 
two-layer model."

I responded shortly thereafter, explaining what I thought were the 
pertinent process issues [2], in particular, quoting from my response:

> Rich Jelliffe writes:
> > The appropriate channel for escalation in this case, as I understand
> > it, is the TAG.
> In short, I'm not convinced that's formally true, but I'm certainly glad 

> to try and get the TAG to play a constructive role, 
> particularly if other 
> TAG members are inclined to engage in this issue.  I believe the process 

> requires that the TAG vote on whether to undertake this as an 
> issue, and I will schedule the appropriate vote shortly.

In fact, the TAG discussed your request on three occasions, on the 
teleconferences of May [14], May 21 [4], and May 28 [5]. On May 28th, 8 
out of 9 TAG members were present (T.V. Raman was the only one missing.) 
In a poll at the end of our discussion, only 1 out of the 8 members 
present supported the TAG pursuing this as an issue, and so we will not. 

Let me now respond to your note, with the assumption that it is in fact 
refering to the decision described above:

> I will not pursue this any further here now.

Thank you for being clear on that.

> I am in no way satisfied with the result

That is understandable, though I hope you'll feel that we were at least 
diligent in promoting discussion.

Speaking for myself, I was never entirely convinced that the TAG was the 
best venue for considering this, but as chair I was glad to give it 
careful consideration.  As you are aware, the Schema working group has 
opened a formal issue [6] in their bug tracking system.  I believe that 
this is the appropriate framework in which to pursue your concern.  Note 
that, should the issue not be otherwise resolved and should you decide to 
pursue it as XSD proceeds toward Recommendation, our charter formally 
provides the W3C Director (Tim) the opportunity to consult with the TAG 
should he wish to.

> which I am sure was reached in good faith;

Thank you, I believe it was.

> I am sure  that all the TAG members recognize that its large 
> overlap with XSD WG  members effectively preludes it from 
> reaching a consensus much different 
> from that of the XSD WG.

I'm afraid that I just don't think this is fair.  Yes, at least two of us 
on the TAG (Henry and I) have a long history with XSD.  There are also 
other TAG members who have been vocal, now and in the past, in sharing 
some of your concerns about about the merits of XSD.  Your request did NOT 
fall victim to consensus being blocked by the minority of us who have 
strong ties to the XSD work.  Of the 8 members on the call when the choice 
was made, only 1 spoke in favor of the TAG undertaking this issue. 

Frankly, I believe we bent over backward to avoid the appearance or the 
reality of bias.  I can tell you that I received at least one private 
comment from a TAG member who has no particular affection for XSD, asking 
why I had scheduled telcon time on this, when no TAG member had requested 
that we do (our custom is to try to resolve such things in email, as 
telcon time is scarce.)  I pointed out that I felt I had a conflict of 
interest in declining to schedule discussion, and so I wanted to be sure 
your concerns were heard by all.  I think the minutes will reflect that 
those with concerns about XSD and sympathy for your concerns had ample 
opportunity to weigh in. 

Furthermore, on the May 21, call an informal survey of the 6 members 
present revealed NO support for undertaking the issue.  Realizing that at 
least one missing member might be supportive of your request, I scheduled 
the additional discussion on the 28th, a quite unusual step for a decision 
of this scale.  I did that to avoid even the possibility that a larger 
turnout would yield a different result.

In short, I think we have taken unusal pains to avoid either the 
appearance or the reality of bias, and to avoid having a minority block 
the will of the majority.  By our charter, it takes only a simple majority 
for the TAG to undertake work on an issue, and in this case we were not 
even close.  This is not a situation where consensus was blocked by a 
vocal or potentially biased minority.

I hope this will allay your concerns on that score.  Thank you.


[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2009May/0021.html
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2009May/0026.html
[3] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2009/05/14-minutes#item05
[4] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2009/05/21-minutes#item05
[5] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2009/05/28-minutes#item05
[6] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=6940

Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142

Rick Jelliffe <rjelliffe@allette.com.au>
06/02/2009 02:15 AM
        To:     noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com
        cc:     www-tag@w3.org
        Subject:        Re: Five mechanical approaches to make an XSD 
profile without getting   bogged by individual issues

First of all, I would like to thank the TAG for taking the time to 
consider this issue.

I will not pursue this any further here now. I am in no way satisfied 
with the result, which I am sure was reached in good faith; I am sure 
that all the TAG members recognize that its large overlap with XSD WG 
members effectively preludes it from reaching a consensus much different 
from that of the XSD WG. 

I expect to be back with this issue in five years time again, and I 
regrettably expect the same result as 2000, 2004 and now, since there is 
such a strong determination to marginalize small and non-corporate FOSS 

noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com wrote:
> Rick, you imply that the Note produced by the databindings WG calls for 
> subsetting of XSD.  Consistent with the summary of their mandate that I 
> gave in an earlier email, it does not.
Here is how things look from my perspective. It is certainly one-sided, 
but that does not make it unfair or wrong. However, since I have 
actually implemented XSD with a small team, I believe that my 
point-of-view is representative of others in my position, not just an 
individual rant.

The XSD WG had no effective procedures for layering, profiling or 
simplifying XSD.  This disenfranchised a certain constituency, has made 
life difficult for another who are forced to use it, and is biased 
toward corporate developers. This preference for giantism has meant that 
potential members of the WG with different needs leave the WG. This in 
turn means that the WG not only has no effective procedures, but it now 
has a strong disinclination against layering, profiling or simplifying 

When good-faith efforts at the WG forced this issue on to the agenda 5 
years ago, the WG ultimately refused to deal with the issues itself and 
sloughed the issue out to a Working Group specifically chartered in a 
way that to marginalize the problem; disallowing the Databinding WG 
from making anything that might be called a layering, a profile, a 
simplification or anything that might feed back to the XSD WG.

When this issue has been raised we have seen the following responses:

i) These problems are well-known and old hat so go away
ii) These problems are not real because XSD is really popular
iii) People who have these problems can go somewhere else, because the 
XSD WG will not look at them
iv) People who have these problems have already been looked after 
because the WG had a workshop which
resulted in a WG being set up
v) Don't expect the Databinding WG to find any solutions, it can only 
describe the problem.
vi) The XSD WG does not need to look at the solution because it is the 
Databinding WG's province,
vii) There is no expectation that the WG's description of the problem 
will find its way back to the XSD WG
viii) There is no way to solve this problem because people have 
different requirements; the only acceptable subset or profile would have 
to be one that meets all the requirements of the current users
ix) There is only one group that has this problem (databinding) and it 
has specific requirements
x) The XSD WG cannot look into this problem because it is against its 
charter (which, if so, is a maddeningly fatuous argument, as if the 
charter and program of work of the Schema WG is handed down from on high 
rather than reflecting the recommendations and preferences of the WG 
xi) If XSD cannot be so bad, otherwise RELAX NG would be more popular

The fact that these all contradict or make no sense does not seem to 

For the record, I would like to note that the discussion was sidetracked 
by the following red herrings: first, the claim that I was asking for 
XSD 1.1 to be thrown away rather than put on hold, second by the idea 
that problems with XSD could be resolved by finding out how many RELAX 
NG schemas were on the WWW, and third by the claim that I am saying that 
XSD is somehow completely unworkable for any use.

Rick Jelliffe
Received on Tuesday, 2 June 2009 13:58:09 UTC

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