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From <twle...@sauria.com>
Subject Re: [spinnaker] Announce
Date Tue, 11 Jul 2000 10:45:28 GMT
Let me make a few comments on this whole episode.

1) If any Xerces developer at Sun or IBM wants to hassle someone
for wanting a revolution in the Xerces codebase, then they should start
with me, not Duncan.  I was the one who suggested that all the people
working on Xerces take a deep breath, eat some humble pie, and admit
that there are problems with both Xerces and Crimson.  So lay off of
Duncan.   The current Xerces code base is based on a design rule which
says, "write a Java program in an idiomatic style that mimics what you would
do in C".  As a corollary, "If anything gets in the way of going fast, crush it".
I remember specific instances where things that were interfaces got turned into
classes solely because of the performance impact of method invocation through
an interface as opposed to a class.  

2) As a former member of the IBM team in Cupertino, I have to agree that general
visibility into the development state of Xerces is non-existant.  Sure, I can pick
up the phone and call Mike, Andy, Jeff or Arnaud and get the exact details on
what's going on.  But I shouldn't have to.  It's 9 months after the initial contribution
of IBM code into Xerces, and the majority of the development is not happening out 
in the open.  

3) For whatever we do in the future, I would like to see the requirements clearly
laid out, so that we can view both the Xerces and Crimson codebases against those
requirements.  The creation of that requirements document must be a public community
activity.  Similarly for a design document.

4) For the record, the code base that is now called Xerces underwent at least 2 major
refactorings and rewrites before it was donated to Apache.  There is a reason that it
is the way that it is.  The primary criteria were "compliant" (whatever that means) and 
"fast" (which meant faster than whoever else happened to have an XML parser).  We
understood some other requirements.  Some of them got trampled by the above 2.
But there were lots of other interesting requirements.  I think that now is a good time for
some of those to be considered.  At one point , we conceived of a family of parsers,
tuned for different scenarios, but making have use of a common pool of code.  

5) I'll go on the record as being in favor of controlled revolution.  For me one of the
attractions of open source development is the possiblity that we engineers might actually
get to build something that we're proud of, having been released from the corporate mandates
of schedule and feature creep.  If you look at what's happening in the Linux kernel, they
periodically having a revolution -- just watch the linux-kernel list and see how many people
are screaming about 2 different VM implementations, or "last minute" upheavals in the device
driver architecture.   All production code that I've ever worked on has eventually turned
a steaming pile of **** because it was impossible to throw it away.  I'd like to see a place
where interested members of the community can fool around with ideas without being subjected
to the pressure of "This Xerces 2.0", or "this is the main trunk so don't break the build",
or any
other pressures.

6)  I'm actually more interested in services API's around the parser than the parser itself.
includes stuff like JDOM, or databinding, or other parser APIs.  I'm profoundly unhappy with
the W3C DOM (sorry, Arnaud), and if it was up to me, we'd just heave the entire mess in the
garbage and leave it there.   It takes more work than it should to build an XML producing
consuming application.   

7)  I suppose now I'll be chastised for posting this at 3:45AM when all sane people are sleeping,
for the ones reinstalling their operating systems.  Um.  Really, folks, this is getting to
be an ugly place
to be around.  If we can't make this a civil community and learn to work with each other,
there isn't
going to be a next-gen parser, and the IBM folks in Cupertino are going to be the only ones
work on Xerces.


P.S.  Duncan, the next time you want to have people come violently into agreement, could you
send an H-bomb, instead of e-mail?   Might be less mess.

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