[xquery-talk] XQuery timeline -- was: Questions about SQL Server 2005 and XML

Ken North kennorth at sbcglobal.net
Mon Jan 23 14:27:42 PST 2006


> With XQuery we're not talking about a protocol for document
> schemas, we're talking about a spec for a language.

We have a different view of whether SGML is a language, so consider other
examples. The timeline for Ada was 20 years (1975-1995). The timeline for SQL
was 13 years.

Unlike hardware technology, there's no Moore's Law to ensure developing a
standard today will be much faster than 10, 20 or 40 years ago. Human behavior
hasn't changed that much. People today still have similar demands on their time
(other duties, families, etc.).

Perhaps the real topic for discussion is whether finalizing a spec quickly is of
greater value than ironing out the kinks and developing consensus.

Look at the XML-QL and XQL query languages. Java implementations of XQL were
available quickly (compared to XQuery), but look at adoption rates. Who's
building XQL (or XML-QL) into their plans today?

There's another example that's closer to home. Raining Data's database
technology, originally developed by Dick Pick and Don Nelson, was available long
before Microsoft and Oracle even existed. But those companies bet a standard
(SQL) would drive the database market. Dick Pick's companies (Microdata, Pick
Systems) took a proprietary route with its DBMS, OS and query language.

The standard paid off for IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and others. So this time around
it's a good idea Raining Data is building to standards, even though the XQuery
timeline may be disappointing.

> If Java took this long we would all be programming in C today - or maybe

Not a good comparison. The team that developed the Oak language spec worked for
Sun's Green project. They were locked away for 18 months and had no other

The 9-person committee that created COBOL included people from different
organizations. It took only six months (April 1959-December 1959) but the people
were working almost full time on the spec.

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