RELAX NG and OpenOffice

by Michael Fitzgerald

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Yesterday, I was looking at the OpenOffice file format specification which was issued as an OASIS committee specification on March 22. If I understand the wording of the spec correctly, RELAX NG is now the normative schema language for OpenOffice. Fragments of the normative RELAX NG schema appear on nearly every page of the spec.

It seems like everytime I turn around, RELAX NG is creeping up on the XML landscape. And not as a result of heavy handed politics, or a brilliant marketing campaign. Nope. It is just what it is, a solid, technically sound, irresitable little schema language. In a world awash with XML-related specifications, it is nice to find a stand out, an example of brevity, clarity, and usability. I consider myself very lucky to have had even a tiny part in its development, but really we have James Clark and Murata Makoto to thank for RELAX NG.

Three years ago, I remember dialing in to the first what was supposed to be TREX technical committee meeting. James and Makoto were already on the line. After a little chatter, the first order of business was James' announcement that he and Makoto had decided to merge their earlier efforts, essentially marrying James' TREX and Makoto's RELAX, and rewrite the charter of the committee. There was no jockeying for position, just a pair of gentlemen who shook hands. A rare thing in this ego-sick world -- and look what it gave us.

Now I hear that James Clark has been working on StAX, the Java-based pull-parsing API for XML (JSR-173). I've got my hopes up again.

Does anyone out there wear a RELAX NG T-shirt?


2004-04-08 17:28:46
The blood-brain barrier
"Once RELAX NG's concepts have crossed the blood-brain barrier, you will never be able to take any other schema language very seriously again."