vdv is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Eric van der Vlist
Member since: 2002-04-30 17:40:12
Last Login: N/A

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Homepage: http://dyomedea.com/english/vdv

Notes:

I certainly do not feel I deserve the qualification of a "Master" kindly given to me right now :-)

Even though I have published some open source snipets (see http://downloads.dyomedea.com), I am not involved in any major project and my contribution to the software community is rather through ideas than actual pieces of software.

I firmly believe that in software development, extensibility and "power" can only be achieved through simplicity and I am most interested if finding very simple usages of XML technologies which illustrate the phenomenous possibilities behing these technologies.

My attempt to share these ideas as widely as possible is done through running XMLfr and 4xt , being a contributing editor to xmlhack and XML.com , being a speaker in numerous conferences and more lately writing a book on W3C XML Schema for O'Reilly.

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Recent blog entries by vdv

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salmoni
Re: interesting rant by Linus Torvalds. Got me thinking whether it really is worth the bother of using XML for my native file format. - It's really to each application to decide. The good thing is that you don't have to feel too guilty if you don't use angle brackets: if you keep your format simple, XML applications will still be able to integrate your documents. It's also a question of available tools: if you're using something like uche's Anobind you may find XML configuration files easier to parse than native files formats. And it's also a question of perspective: whatever development tool you're using, XML documents may remain more complex to read and edit by hand for your end users.

Long time again since my latest entry!

This morning, edd has posted a link on a mail from Linus Torvalds about XML which is good food for thoughts...

I dare you. Prove me wrong says he before a rant showing that good taste and simple syntax is a MILLION times more readable than XML.

The interesting point is that Torvalds is right (could it not be the case?) and that he is also wrong.

He is right that simple text formats can be easier to edit and easier to read than XML documents, especially if you edit them by hand. He is also in his rights if he want to use good taste and simple syntax.

He is wrong if he assumes that good taste and simple syntax will save him from XML!

What many people miss to see (especially amongst XML zealots) is that what's important with XML isn't the syntax, not the angle brackets...

That's not because Torvalds uses good taste and simple syntax for his configuration files that I can't take a couple of hours to write a SAX parser for good taste and simple syntax and validate Torvalds' configuration files through a RELAX NG schema written with the non XML compact syntax. Zero angle brackets here, but still a XML application!

Hmmm... XML is only syntax and its syntax isn't important?

That's the XML paradox. Maybe, what's really important in XML is the quest for interoperability which has followed its publication. Maybe, after all, XML is a principle and not a technology?

BTW, have you noticed how straightforwardly Torvalds' demonstration can be applied to programming languages to show that Python (good taste and simple syntax) is a MILLION times more readable than C, Java or C# to name few?

Done more work on Examplotron and the new architecture is still more promissing than I would have thought! The previous releases were nice toys showing a cool concept but with this release Examplotron becomes able to compete with the "big" XML schema languages. In fact, I think we've got here a simpler syntax to access the full power and flexibility of Relax NG with embedded Schematron rules.

Long time since my last diary... Just been busy with my too many projects and most specifically my Relax NG book!

I have resumed work on two of my open source projects:

XSLTUnit
No major enhancements here, but a port from a Saxon specific extension to the EXSLT exsl:node-set() function. This makes XSLTUnit much more portable since it should run on any EXSLT compliant XSLT processor. Unfortunately this is not (yet?) the case with libxslt because of a couple of bugs related to the lack of support of a root node in the node set result.

Examplotron
Major redesign for Examplotron 0.5 which compiler is no longer generating a XSLT transformation but a Relax NG schema (with embedded Schemantron constraints when needed). The set of features is pretty much the same, the purpose of the intermediate release been to evaluate the impact of the changes. This will give a stronger base to the project and facilitate adding new features.

That's fun to see three of my unrelated projects starting to work together: XSLTUnit is now used to do unit tests on Examplotron and the result of the compilation of an Examplotron can be used as an input for xvif...

Server migration
    Been quite busy, after my vacation in sunny California, to setup an environment using two home hosted servers (Debian GNU/Linux of course) connected through DSL and backuped as round robin to replace the server I was previously hiring in the US (the revenues of the sites I am hosting couldn't cover the cost any longer...). It's not 100% stable yet but already enough to run...
xname
    One of the issues to set up this environment was DNS: I have only 1 fixed IP and needed to borrow at least a secondary somewhere and I came on a nice project called xname during my quest. This is an open source infrastructure above the standard bind9 and after a couple of feature requests easy to implement xname has become a good fit for what I needed to do.
XML-RPC
    One of these features is a XML-RPC service allowing to update the DNS when a variable IP address changes. Since xname is using PHP, I have writen this simple service using Edd's excellent XML-RPC for PHP. That's not rocket science (was even rather trivial), but I like these simple developments which show the power of such tools on non over-hyped applications. This seems rather new too, except for some requests for such a service done by Dave Winer back in 1999...

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