Two different stories this week highlight what’s worked and what hasn’t at the web’s biggest standards body. Elliotte Rusty Harold’s RELAX Wins has generated a stir about how much “W3C XML Schemas (XSD) suck,” according to Tim Bray. On a positive note, though, Norm Walsh announced eight Proposed Recommendations around XQuery, XSLT 2, and (hooray!) XPath 2.
In some ways, though, the story of the shift from XSD to RELAX is similar to the story behind XPath 2 (really the core of both XQuery and XSLT 2). An earlier standard achieved some success, had some critical failures, and was revised into a more usable form. XPath took the more normal form and just bumped a major version number, whereas RELAX had to start totally from scratch, but they both can be seen as the W3C working fairly effectively in the long term.
The importance of the W3C in the eyes of vendors is still as high as ever, as shown by this snippet from the maintainer of a popular XML editor last week shows:
| Is there any way to use the new Saxon 8.8 as XMLMind’s XSLT engine?
| For one of our use case we would need to have its XSLT 2.0 and the SQL
| extensions available.
For now, we really do not intend to upgrade to Saxon 8+. Also note that
XSLT 2.0 is not yet a W3C recommendation. See http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt20/
[UPDATE: A more balanced assessment of the place of XSD by Bob DuCharme]
[UPDATE2: Oops, a stupid error on my part: attributing RELAX to W3C instead of ISO. A good Family Tree of Schema Languages has just been updated by Rick Jelliffe.]