Permanent link to archive for 4/8/05. Friday, April 8, 2005

When does it become a standard?

Turn to page 3 of this interview with Tim Bray, one of the eleven designers of XML. Asked why there is no version 27.5 of XML, he gives a common sense answer, that XML is frozen, and isn't going to change. Of course, it couldn't be any other way. He says:

"XML was frozen and published in February 1998. As it came toward the end and it became obvious -- well, not obvious, but likely anyhow -- that this was going to get a lot of momentum, we were besieged by requests for extra features of one kind or another. We basically lied and told the world, we would do all that stuff in version 2. You have to shoot the engineers and ship at some point, right? I think there will never be an XML version 2. There is an XML version 1.1, but itís controversial and not widely supported."

Sounds like what I've been saying about RSS (without the lying part).

If XML weren't frozen, it wouldn't have been possible to build XML-RPC, RSS, SOAP or OPML on top of it.

You could still add features to XML if there was a strong enough will in the community to do so. But there doesn't seem to be any movement in that direction, and that's okay, because while XML is not perfect, it certainly is good enough. Emphatically, that XML is frozen is a good thing. If it were a moving target nothing would get done. And the same is true of RSS.

Today, there's no question that RSS is frozen, done, settled. Yes there are still a small number of people who would like to argue about it, but the deployment speaks so much more strongly. Every time you see so-and-so "supports RSS" on Scripting News, that's an affirmation of the power of a frozen format, and if that goes on long enough, one can justifiably start calling it a standard. With RSS that day is coming soon.

# Posted by Dave Winer on 4/8/05; 11:22:18 AM - --

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