· 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.]
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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