July 11, 2004
@ 12:50 AM

In a post entitled Dare Obasanjo is raining on the W3C's parade, Mike Dierken responds to my recent post which asks Is the W3C Becoming Irrelevant? by writing

Either way the primary mechanism the W3C uses to produce technology specs is to take a bunch of contradictory and conflictiong proposals then have a bunch of career bureaucrats try to find some compromise that is a union of all the submitted specs

Damn those career bureaucrats that built XML. Or is it the SOAP design process that caused the grief? And where did that technology come from anyway?

My original post already described the specs that have caused grief and show the W3C is losing its way. I assume that Mike is trying to use XML 1.0 and SOAP 1.1 as counter examples to the trend I pointed out. Well first of all, XML 1.0 was a proposal to design a subset of SGML so by definition it could not suffer the same problems that face attempts to innovate by committee which have hampered the W3C in current times. Also when XML 1.0 was created it was much smaller and a majority of the participants in the subsetting of SGML had similar goals. As for SOAP 1.1, it isn't a W3C spec. SOAP 1.1 was created by Don Box, Dave Winer and a bunch of Microsoft and IBM folks and then submitted to the W3C as a W3C Note.

Of course, the W3C has created iterations of both specs (XML 1.1 & SOAP 1.2) which in both cases are backwards incompatible with the previous versions. I leave it as an excercise to the reader to decide if having backwards incompatible point releases of Web specifications is how one 'leads the Web to its full potential'.