Streaming Violations

In general on August 15, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Streaming Transformations is a part of the family of validation standards being created as Document Schema Definition Languages (DSDL) through ISO. DSDL is, of course, the great hope of the publishing industry for providing more appropriate technologies for arbitrarily-structured documents, as opposed to the legacy data-based technologies currently popular with XML developers. STX, a one-pass transformation language for XML documents, has been proposed as the seed technology for the streaming transformation section of DSDL. As a good starting point for constructing a grammar-based technology, STX proffers a candidate technology that would allow ISO to make progress in a reasonable timeframe.

Apathy ruled the voting to consider whether STX should form the basis for part 6 of DSDL. Only five countries bothered to cast a vote. This is somewhat understandable given the enormous energies being consumed by the colossus that is the OOXML fast track consideration. The Canadian and Japanese national bodies returned no votes on the issue of whether to adopt STX as the foundation for DSDL part 6. This will delay any progress of creating a standardised streaming technology through ISO. The record of voting is publicly available on the brilliant JTC1SC34 site – where we can see the rationale behind the voting.

Considering the problems users have with extremely large XML files, and the urgent need for better tools support, the voting is intriguing. STX may not be perfect, but adopting it as a starting point would have moved the DSDL process forward considerably and allowed further work using STX as a basis. The rationale given by Japan is reasonable. But the reasoning from Canada does not appear to be so straightforward. So why did Canada vote no? Well the answer may lie in a conflict of interest that has now been exposed. It appears that the W3C XSL WG is considering streaming requirements for a future version of XSLT. However, if this knowledge was not public at the time of the ballot – how could Canada have acted in the interests of another standards body?


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