W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > xml-uri@w3.org > May 2000

Re: A little courtesy, please

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 11:58:45 -0400
Message-ID: <000001bfc53d$dc171380$74eb5c8b@ridge.w3.org>
To: "Dan Connolly" <connolly@w3.org>, "Tim Bray" <tbray@textuality.com>, "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
Cc: <xml-uri@w3.org>

-----Original Message-----
From: Simon St.Laurent <simonstl@simonstl.com>

>At which point my earlier (unanswered) concerns about whether 'Web
>architecture' and the 'Semantic Web' are actually a liability for XML come
>into play, and the courtesy level likely drops another few notches.

You can be sure that for XML by itself as an isolated application
any constraints of other specifications would be a liability. A liability
for the working groups, who would have to the
burden of having to accept some decisions of others, and take
into account dependencies from outside the borders of XML.

It is work. But it is worth it.

Do you really all, as a group, want to say, as David Megginson did
that while he has energy to disuss this within xml-plenary
once it is decided in that forum, he has not the energy to
discuss input from outside that forum?

If a specification came along which claimed to use XML and did not
nest its elements, or which put every single bit of data in a Processing
Instruction, then it would be reasonable to complain that they not
getting the point, whether violating the spec or not.

It is a constraint for an individual to be in a group.  It is a constraint
a group to be in a wider group.  Just as it is not acceptable for a
person in a group to simply make a statement and refuse to discuss it,
so it is unacceptable for XML to behave as though it was autonomous.
Similarly, W3C is careful to liaise with the IETF so that we don't break
any of their assumptions.

The "Web Architecture" is a set of invariants, a set of assumptions which
one can distill from the decisions which have been made historically
and which we find have to be assumed implicitly within the web
development commuity.   My personal attempt represent these is
at http://ww.w3.org/DesignIssues/Architecture and has been for 10 years.

The architecture evolves, of course. I brought this whole subject of how
that should happen at the W3C Advisory Committee meeting.
It is quite a tricky question.    The architecture is not unquestionable.
But some of it is the assumption on which people joined the
consortium.  WhatI would like is (current personal thinking) was
an ethos in which some documents represened the best stab at
capturing the nominal important invariants at any one point, and a
group within W3C or near neighbors would be expected to be aware
of it and, if it wanted to go outside it, to negotiate it in a wider context
than just itself.  We could put together
specific targetted discussions of experts around the area in question.
(This has worked quite well in previous instances)

>While I'm glad to have been able to participate in the discussion, I'm
>really left wondering why this issue moved onto a public list when the 'Web
>architecture' that appears to be motivating it is under wraps, apparently

I moved this onto a public list because of an intense desire to see
clarity behind the technical arguments.  This takes a lot of effort,
and I wasn't prepared to go to it and not be able to include
public input or quote the arguments in public.  For me, when I
hear people say things which seem not to make sense, I want
to find out how they are thinking.  The result have so far been partially
successful.  Maybe it will end up with me being convinced I understand
all the issues and noone else!   I think so far some things have been
explained, we are not at all though the process.  For me, for example,
I was amazed to find that people would think of using "../foo" in a URI
reference as anything other the meaning of a relative URI. But it explains
some of the previously incomprehensible messages.   I hope some
others feel that there has been some light too.

It would be great if we ended up with getting consensus here of course,
otherwise the way to decide what to with the specs will have to be defined
by a process not yet set up.  This is the first time I have done it like

Now I have to close this machie down .. the meeting is closing up and the
nrt is going....

>Simon St.Laurent

Tim BL
Received on Wednesday, 24 May 2000 01:04:58 UTC

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