Don Box's description of the "kernel" of XML actually is more of a kernel of "XML Web Services" technologies which explains why the specs for SOAP and URI are in his definition of the core of XML. I prefer Don Smith's diagram of the core XML technologies although I am of two minds about XSLT. I'd consider a list of the core XML technologies as the technologies that any developer working with XML should know. Unfortunately, the barrier for entry when it comes to learning XSLT is rather high for me to place it in the core. The same probably goes for W3C XML Schema but its functionality is so fundamental to the usage of XML in a wide range of situations as well as the fact that it is widely adopted means that the average XML developer should be aware of it in some form.

On the other hand, one of the core promises of XML were that "anyone can create their own markup vocabulary" which they can then map between other vocabularies as necessary. XSLT is primarily important for this at the syntactical level so it probably should be in the core as well. RDF and its family of technologies (DAML + OIL, OWL, etc) are supposed to do this at the semantic level but it's been five years and we're still waiting for something usable.

So it seems I didn't disagree as much as I thought. My idea of the core XML technologies/specifications overlaps completely with Don Smith's diagram. Although the XML Infoset specification could probably be replaced with a reference to the XPath (1.0 or 2.0) data model instead. ;)

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Disclaimer: The above comments do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer. They are solely my opinion.