Sr. Director, Product Research, Epicor Software

Software Architecture

This blog is not associated with my employer.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The W3C Schema Patterns WG is not Misguided

Dare Obasanjo’s recent post labeling the W3C W3C XML Schema Patterns for Databinding Working Group as misguided seems like an overreaction. The toolkit vendors put out bad XML Schema processors and invented those leaky abstractions in the (misguided?) rush to make XML painless and web services a transparent feature for programmers with typical skillsets and approaches.

Many (including me) think that moving to XML as a primary integration mechanism for applications should a great step forward. But many IT staff who actually have to link different apps together are complaining that their job is much harder now than it ever was. Industry consortia are having a hell of a time publishing good standardized schemas because the inclusion of some seemingly innocuous XML Schema features will unknowingly break constituent implementations.

You can’t tell developers to simply avoid statically typed languages (at least not yet). You also can’t tell developers to wait a bit longer and the toolkit vendors will somehow watertighten their abstractions in an interoperable way. You *can* tell developers to avoid leaky abstractions to process XML, but you get resistance (which is regrettable). Worse, developers have to sometimes fight their toolkits to even do get to the message payload.

So, I don’t know what is so wrong about the W3C trying to alleviate the situation by attempting to shine a light on issues that seriously impact users. It may perpetuate XML <-> OO binding, which many people — including me — think is a problematic strategy. But maybe the W3C can get the Infoset in more hands sooner. More people can walk before they run, if you will.

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