[xquery-talk] XQuery spec and timeframes

Daniela Florescu dflorescu at mac.com
Mon Jan 23 16:26:07 PST 2006


I read those messages with great interest. XQuery took a 
long time to complete, no doubt about this.

However, Tim Bray and Adam Bosworth are wrong. Certain 
things take the time they take, and not a day longer.

As far as I am concerned, this is the way I understand it. 
Most of  those 8 years were spent creating a **culture** 
more then a language,  by integrating input from several 
communities: full text, documents, data processing, declarative 
and functional languages, type systems, etc.

This cross-culture is probably the best outcome of those 8 
years of hard  work. The information management of the 21st 
century will need techniques from all those communities. So 
sorry Adam and Tim, no, those 8 years were not lost, and 5 
years wouldn't have been enough. Certain things take time.
Propagating knowledge takes time. 

To finish my message: I am just coming out one of those 
XQuery standard  meetings we had this morning....

My short advise for the participants to this thread would be: 
if you do care about XQuery to finish faster, 
please participate in one way or another (write tests, find 
bugs, give implementation feedback, teach customers and students, 
write articles and books,  explain the benefits, propose extensions, 

XQuery cannot be "done" by 5-10 people working in a corner, 
but only by a large community that contributes.

Best regards,

On Monday, January 23, 2006, at 03:56PM, Frank Cohen <fcohen at rainingdata.com> wrote:

>Hi Ken: When I read your message I hear pride, anger, fear, and  
>hesitation. I've been there too. It's not an easy thing to build a  
>new standard and I admire what you and others have done to get XQuery  
>this far. It's a good accomplishment.
>Getting the XQuery spec to a 1.0 final status is very important to  
>two groups: developers and managers.
>Last year at the SDForum.org Web Services Conference Tim Bray and  
>Adam Bosworth talked about XQuery as a cake that took too long to  
>bake. The audience was Java developers. Trying to fight against that  
>attitude from the thought leaders is hopeless while the spec is not  
>Secondly, the enterprise and institutional software architects and  
>program managers I am calling on like the promise of XQuery and are  
>ready to rally around the new standard. But they wont accept "the  
>spec is basically final" or "the spec does not include xxx and we  
>have added it to our implementation." (The xxx could be full text  
>search, try/catch/exceptions, or any number of other enhancements.)  
>They need the 1.0 spec to defend their choice of a new platform.
>XQuery 1.0 with kinks still inside is fine with me rather than  
>waiting any longer.
>About XML-QL and XQL adoption... XQuery is a native XML programming  
>language and Java is an object-oriented programming language. They  
>are natural competitors. I have no reason to think that the object  
>bigots in the Java community are motivated to support XQuery as  
>anything more than an improved SQL language. The win for XQuery is  
>with developers that are working with complex XML data. To them  
>XQuery is a winner for system performance and scalability and rapid  
>development of XML services.
>On Jan 23, 2006, at 2:27 PM, Ken North wrote:
>> Frank,
>>> 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
>> Cobol.
>> 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
>> responsibilities.
>> 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.
>> _______________________________________________
>> talk at xquery.com
>> http://xquery.com/mailman/listinfo/talk
>talk at xquery.com

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