RELAX wins

There’s been a buzz today about the changing scene in XML. On the XML-DEV list Michael Champion wrote:

I see that Elliotte Harold has declared the schema wars over, and Tim Bray, Don Park, and others have piled on. That would be great news, except for the little detail that the non-cognoscenti don’t seem to know or care.

He’s referring to Tim Bray who writes:

Choose RELAX Now · Elliotte Rusty Harold’s RELAX Wins may be a milestone in the life of XML. Everybody who actually touches the technology has known the truth for years, and it’s time to stop sweeping it under the rug. W3C XML Schemas (XSD) suck. They are hard to read, hard to write, hard to understand, have interoperability problems, and are unable to describe lots of things you want to do all the time in XML. Schemas based on Relax NG, also known as ISO Standard 19757, are easy to write, easy to read, are backed by a rigorous formalism for interoperability, and can describe immensely more different XML constructs. To Elliotte’s list of important XML applications that are RELAX-based, I’d add the Atom Syndication Format and, pretty soon now, the Atom Publishing Protocol. It’s a pity; when XSD came out people thought that since it came from the W3C, same as XML, it must be the way to go, and it got baked into a bunch of other technology before anyone really had a chance to think it over. So now lots of people say “Well, yeah, it sucks, but we’re stuck with it.” Wrong! The time has come to declare it a worthy but failed experiment, tear down the shaky towers with XSD in their foundation, and start using RELAX for all significant XML work. [Update: Piling-on are Don Park, Gabe Wachob, Mike Hostetler and some commenters. There’s thoughtful input from Dare Obasanjo, and now the comments have some push-back too.] [4 comments]
Some of the XML-DEVers are less than convinced – their argument is that paying customers in large companies don’t care how awful the technology is as long as it’s seen to be standard. W3C XSD will survive and prosper simply because it’s there, tooled up, and supported by the 800lb gorillas.
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