[Standards] whiteboarding and shared editing

Peter Saint-Andre stpeter at jabber.org
Wed Aug 15 22:15:30 UTC 2007

Boyd Fletcher wrote:
> On 8/15/07 5:20 PM, "Peter Saint-Andre" <stpeter at jabber.org> wrote:
>>>> Mats has had a working implementation of whiteboarding in Coccinella for
>>>> years now.
>>> true but if memory serves its not SVG based.
>> But Mats contributed to some of the standardization work on XML
>> synchronization.
> but as I and others have said, Whiteboarding is quite a bit more than just
> modifying an XML document.

Requirements, requirements, requirements. Again, it would help for
someone to write a clear and comprehensive requirements doc.

It would also help for you to summarize the ways in which whiteboarding
is more than modifying an XML document. That would help us find common
ground and achieve consensus.

BTW, no one is claiming that whiteboarding is JUST a matter of modifying
an XML document, only that the core synchronization logic could be
shared across different applications.

>>> the market drives many of the standards today and that isn't necessarily a
>>> bad thing since customers are buying the companies' products so the
>>> companies have a good understanding of the wants and needs of the users.
>> Some people think that such "market-driven standardization" is another
>> name for buying your way in.
> in some cases it is but it others it leads to much better standards. Take
> Efficient XML. Its based on the commercial work of Agile Delta. It was
> chosen (with some modifications) by the W3 because it was proven to be the
> best implementation. SSL/TLS is the  same way, Netscape built a commercially
> viable secure tcp/ip protocol. They proved it would work, others adopted it
> and then they submitted it to the IETF for standardization.

Correct. Those are good examples. Though Netscape submitted SSL for
standardization only after serious pressure from other vendors. :)

In fact XMPP is the result of a similar process, since the early Jabber
protocols were implemented and deployed for years before standardization
began at the IETF in 2002.

>>> However, that being said it is also good to have some independence from the
>>> market. But developing standards that aren't viable for people too implement
>>> doesn't do anyone any good. So we need to have a careful balance.
>> On what basis do you say that a generalized XML synchronization and
>> editing protocol is not viable? Do you have specific criticisms of
>> http://www.xmpp.org/extensions/inbox/sxde.html or suggestions for
>> improvement? Those would be appreciated.

Specific criticisms and suggestions would still be appreciated. Could
you provide those please, or commit to doing so, or point us to mailing
list posts where you have already provided them? Thanks.

> Show me a working implementation that has been proven to work with large
> numbers of users. 

You are awfully focused on deployment. Implementation and deployment
experience is very helpful, but just because something has been
implemented and deployed does not mean it is worthy of standardization.
I'm not saying your approach is not, only that the sense of the Council
is that it would be better to pursue a more general approach. If you can
answer the questions I asked above we can try to find common ground and
move to consensus.

And note that Council elections are coming up. You could always stuff
the Council with a slate of candidates who would support your position.
But they would need to be XSF members:


I realize that this process is frustrating. So is any democracy. And

   Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this
   world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or
   all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form
   of government except all those other forms that have been tried from
   time to time. -- Winston Churchill

> I haven't seen any answers to our issues regarding how to handle the
> non-document aspects of whiteboarding.

I haven't seen your answers to the questions I posed. How about if
everyone posts their questions (or points to unanswered questions from
the mailing list threads) so that we can get all the open issues out on
the table and move forward?

>>> I think it would be good for the community for Mats and Ian to document what
>>> they have done so that the four implementations can be compared.
>> Mats and Ian have both contributed to the XML synchronization / shared
>> XML editing approach in previous email threads. Whether that means they
>> would upgrade their code to use that approach (or whatever approach
>> results from our standardization work) is for them to say.
> But why not publish there whiteboarding work? does it not use a shared XML
> editing approach? 

You'd have to ask them. I'm not sure.

>>> That is how
>>> they do it in the W3
>> We don't know how the W3C does things since we can't afford to pay tens
>> of thousands of dollars a year to participate. We prefer to follow the
>> IETF example around here, if an example must be followed. At least the
>> IETF functions in an open manner.
>> But perhaps you can share with us some of your experience contributing
>> to W3C activities so that we can understand more of how they work.

Which is?

> though I think the fee requirement for the W3 is excessive, something has to
> pay for the work of the standards body. 

The total amount of money spent by the JSF/XSF since 2001 is probably
less than the yearly membership fee for one company at the W3C. This
stuff doesn't have to be expensive unless you want fancy buildings and
travel junkets all over the planet.

> ISO charges for its standards but
> the W3 gives them away. no approach is perfect. 

Certainly not W3C and ISO!

> They are a lot of good
> things about the IETF and W3's approach. Both use a working group approach
> with a committee chair(s).

Essentially the XSF is (or to this point has been) like one working
group. Perhaps we've outgrown that now.

I pass over in silence your comments about the WS-* stack. :)


Peter Saint-Andre

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