When
· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · November
· · · · 27 (3 entries)

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. And oh my good­ness gra­cious, a Rick Jel­liffe must-read.]
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Clementson on Concurrency · That would be Bill Cle­mentson, in Con­cur­ren­t/Par­al­lel Pro­gram­ming - The Next Gen­er­a­tion. I’ve been work­ing on so much oth­er stuff that the concurrency’s kind of been crowd­ed out. Which isn’t good, be­cause the highly-parallel fu­ture hasn’t stopped get­ting closer, and I just haven’t heard that much ex­cit­ing con­cur­ren­cy news re­cent­ly. Ex­cept from Google, where MapRe­duce and Sawza­ll may be point­ing one of the ways for­ward. I ac­tu­al­ly did a lit­tle fool­ing around with Er­lang (damn, that is one heavy­weight in­stal­l) and there’s a lot to like, but I don’t think the world is ready to give up object-orientation. There’s low-hanging fruit out there, and lots of pieces of the so­lu­tion are in plain view, and we know where we’re try­ing to go: to a place where or­di­nary ap­pli­ca­tion programmers’ code nat­u­ral­ly and ef­fort­less­ly takes ad­van­tage of multi-core, multi-processor, clus­tered, or oth­er­wise par­al­lel hard­ware de­ploy­ments. Be­cause scal­ing out, rather than scal­ing up, is still the fu­ture.
 
The Colours of Snow · We’ve had a lot of snow and and a long freeze to keep it on the ground. All those shades of white and grey pulled the cam­era out of my pock­et as much as any sum­mer day’s flow­er­s, this year ...
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