Binary XML Standard(s): Just Say No

Omri and Joshua have already posted the two main reasons why attempting to create a binary XML standard is folly (a) the various use cases and requirements are contradictory (small message size for low bandwidth situations and minimal parsing/serialization time for sitautions where minimizing processing time is prime) thus a single standard is unlikely to satisfy a large proportion of the requesters and (b) creation of a binary XML standard especially by an organization such as the W3C muddies the water with regards to interop, people already have to worry about the interop pain that will occur whenever XML 1.1 gets out of the door (which is why Elliotte Rusty Harold advises avoiding it like the plague) let alone adding one or more binary XML standards to the mix.

On reading the various position papers submitted at the workshop it seems a number of the other participants such as IBM also had similar concerns. The W3C won't officially release the position papers for about a month or so but enterprising souls can use Google's cache and queries such as this one to get a sneak peak at the position papers.


Microsoft and Developer Communities

I've seen a few writings on developer communities around Microsoft technologies in the past few days. The first was Larry O'Brien's article .NET Eye for the Java Guy where he wrote
Finally, and this is the area that I most wish has some impact: The Java world is a real community. Microsoft bends over backward in order to try to create communities, but the Java and open-source communities are more organic.


With GotDotNet and other sites in "The .NET Code Wise Community," Microsoft's presence is palpable and can be somewhat stifling, like a sanctioned school event where the principal is sitting in a corner reading a magazine. It's in the blogsphere that there seems to be evidence of this trend fading, with enthusiasts like Loren Heiny ( single-handedly doing more for the Tablet PC than Microsoft's marketing department, and Microsoftians like Chris Brumme, Eric Gunnerson, Don Box and Rebecca Dias (all available at getting on the Cluetrain and giving human voice to .NET technology
and the second was a blog post by Cameron Purdy
I also suscribe to the .NET weblog feed. Here's the problem with this thought: I only work with .NET maybe a couple of days a month. I tinker, I poke, I prod, and then I leave it alone for a while. I don't even know all of the terminology (which, like the Java world, is all a bunch of stupid made-up acronyms designed to keep "new" people out by scaring the sh*t out of them), and I definitely don't know much or care much about the people involved with it. I like to learn, though, and keep up with what's going on in the world, so I figure I'll glean something out of the blogs, particularly since it seems that half of them are by Microsoft employees trying to make it appear that there is a .NET community.
The first thing I noticed was that this is another example of the Damned if you do and damned if you don't meme with regards to Microsoft. On the one hand you have Larry O'Brien claiming that Microsoft people having blogs is "getting on the cluetrain" as opposed to the more hands off approach used by GotDotNet where various online communities of Microsoft developers are highlighted while on the other you have Cameron Purdy who claims that Microsoft people blogging is an attempt to pretend there actually are developer communities around Microsoft products when in fact there aren't.

I used to be a Java & Open Source guy before I became assimilated (and am still pretty much an Open Source guy) and remember making similar comments about the vibrant communities in the Java world vs. Microsoft products. Now that I've spent some time working on Microsoft technologies as well as my role as the developer community lead for the Webdata XML team I've realized that I had a number of misconceptions mostly fostered by hanging out on Slashdot a lot. The main one being that there weren't developer communities around Microsoft technologies which isn't the case, all one has to do is check out places like Code Project, SQL Server Central and 4 Guys from Rolla to realize that are and have been vibrant communities around Microsoft technologues for quite a while. The other misconception I had was that involvement from the corporation responsible for a technology was not how communities worked. I realize now that this was actually kind of silly and was primarily fostered by the fact that Sun didn't really participate actively in Java/Open Source communities and in fact many of them sprang up specifically due to dissatisfaction with Sun's technologies.

It makes no sense for me to be designing APIs for XML developers on the .NET Framework without interacting with these developers given that they are my customers. If this means I am "trying to make it appear that there is a .NET community" so be it. As long as my users are happy.


What's Up With BlogX?

As Clemens Vasters's posted I'm planning to mothball the existing BlogX code and will be asking BlogX users to transition to dasBlog. This includes the Blogs @ GotDotNet although the folks in charge of it are hesitant to migrate at the current time.

Clemens has mentioned that he intends to play an active role in managing the dasBlog project so this means I can just focus on adding features (like better integration with feed aggregators like RSS Bandit).

I need to find out if the GotDotNet folks provide a mechanism to shutdown a workspace.


The Ultimate iPod Accessory

I just stumbled on Anapod which has a ton of features for taking your iPod experience to the next level from support for WAV files to integration with Windows Explorer and my personal favorite the ability to treat your iPod as a database complete with SQL support and XML output. The thought of being able to run XQuery expressions over the contents of my iPod is an XML geek's wet dream.

Speaking of XQuery and iPods, another member of our team has succumbed to the red menace. This time it's Michael Brundage, the author of XQuery : The XML Query Language who not only picked up an iPod but also got one of those sexy 15-inch powerbooks. The coolest part was that he runs Virtual PC for Mac so he doesn't even have to give up running Windows. Definitely geek nirvana.


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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.

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