[standards-jig] JNG Ramblings

Glenn Willen vyrus at bnet.org
Wed Aug 14 06:40:08 UTC 2002

On Wed, 14 Aug 2002, Nathaniel Borenstein wrote:


> However.... just to fan the flames and to prove that I don't agree
> completely with *anyone*, I'll come down on Mike's side on this question
> of philosophy:  Jabber's protocols should *not* be held hostage to
> absolute standards of XML purity.  I distrust that brand of extremism at
> least as much as I distrust designing protocols around a notion of
> mathematical elegance.  Good protocols (like all good political
> endeavors) are full of messy tradeoffs between competing pure
> ideologies, as I think Jeremie also implied in his message.
> Finally, I should say that I do in fact share some of Mike's frustration
> at the idea of not being able to efficiently handle asynchronous XML
> receipt in non-reentrant XML parsers.  Would it be totally outrageous to
> consider some kind of clear "end of document fragment" marker (coming
> *after* a completed XML fragment) that would allow the re-assemply of
> the complete XML document (before passing it off to the XML parser)
> without having to fully parse the XML?  -- Nathaniel

I'd like to ask something tha I've been wondering about since I started
lurking on this list, related to your point about XML purity. Why is it
necessary to namespace everything in the protocol? It is guaranteed that
the first thing which will come over a Jabber connection is an opening
stream tag. Why, then, is it neccesary to namespace it as <stream:stream>?
A simple <stream> would be, if perhaps not valid XML (I'm not thoroughly
versed in the subject) completely unambiguous. Yes, some parsers might not
recognize it, but I'm willing to bet that most would accept it, or could
be convinced to with an option, and it sounds like many of you write your
own parsers anyway. The same goes for the xmlns and xmlns:stream
attributes of the tag -- one of them is useful, but the other is always
redundant -- why is it necessary? I will admit, again, to knowing only a
little about xml, and next to nothing about namespacing -- would someone
care to enlighten me, or point me in the right direction?

FWIW, which is not much, I would like to give my $.02 on some of the
issues I am hearing discussed here: 1) the absence of many open, standard
binary protocols rather strongly suggests avoiding that route, 2) the
complexity of the current Jabber protocol makes it difficult, but not
impossible, to write a client by examining the behavior of an existing
one, or interacting with the server by telnet (this would of course be
next to impossible with a binary protocol, and perhaps simplified with a
less-strict XML protocol), and 3) the utility of being able to send raw
binary data through Jabber is undeniable, whatever the mechanism for doing
so may be.

Thanks for enduring my rambling,

		--Glenn Willen (vyrus at bnet.org)
		  BeachNet Network Administrator

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