# Thursday, 26 February 2004

Bah!  I'm trying to make some sense of some "schemas" that I got from a third party.  Whoever wrote them is stuck in the 1998 "isn't XML a neat idea" stage of their career.  They are, of course, DTDs instead of W3 schemas.  Better still, pretty much every single element in the entire corpus (the whole thing is defined in one file, although it contains multiple messages) is defined as a global element, which makes a complete mess. 

As if that weren't enough, the DTDs don't actually validate. 

Sigh. 

So I'm struggling to rationalize them into some more useful (W3) form. 

All I can say is that it's 2004 for cryin' out loud.  XML isn't just a neat idea, and people should know better than this by now.  If you're defining a group of atomic messages, do yourself a favor and define one per schema file.  If you have repeating elements, import is your friend.  It makes it so much easier for the schema consumer to deal with.  Don't define every single element as global.  If you have structures that are used in more than one place, great, but for simpleTypes, it doesn't make much sense to make them global, and it really clutters up the schema. 

As with any other design task, think about how your schema is going to be used, and by whom, instead of starting from the idea that it's just really neat.  It's been long enough now that we should really be seeing better XML practices globally, but I fear that's not really the case. 

Keep trying!

XML
Thursday, 26 February 2004 09:42:18 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 20 February 2004

I'm just pages away from finishing Drop City, by T.C.Boyle.  This is one of the more riveting novels I've read in quite a while.  It's been hard for me to put it down.  It portrays two completely different sets of people who really have the same goals, but come at it from two totally different perspectives. 

It's set in 1970, and the two groups of people are a hippie commune from Sonoma County and the residents of Boynton, Alaska, 150 miles from Fairbanks where the roads stop.  The health department shuts down the commune, which decides to relocate itself to Alaska. 

The focus of the story is really around how the long term residents of Boyton, and the surrounding bush, are just as "dropped out" of mainstream society as the hippies are.  They too are looking for personal freedom, and escape from the rat race and rapidly plasticized society of the late 60's early 70's.  The difference between them is in their approach.  Libertine vs. Libertarian.  Peace love and brotherhood vs. live free or die.  It's a very interesting and original juxtaposition, IMHO.

I grew up in Marin in the early 70's and I remember first hand what the peace love and brotherhood crowd was like.  Boyle does a great job of capturing not only the ideal of hippieness, but also the factors that inevitably crushed it. 

If you remember the hippies, are into Alaska, or just looking for a diverting read, check it out.

Friday, 20 February 2004 13:58:49 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [2]  | 
# Friday, 13 February 2004

As I'm sure you've probably heard elsewhere, SourceGear has released a new version of their Vault SCC tool.  The single user version is now free, lot's of cool new features, etc. 

I was just looking through the list of new features, and this one has to be my favorite

 Blame: Displays an annotated view of the file showing which user last modified each line.

That'll come in handy. :-)

Friday, 13 February 2004 15:55:26 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 29 January 2004

I've been hearing a bit of hype around Skype this week, which sounds like a pretty cool idea.  Free download, make free phone calls, etc.  Being a bit of a paranoid, I decided to actually read the license agreement, and found this paragraph interesting

6. Payment.

You acknowledge that certain functions in the Skype Software are only available to paid subscribers after a free trial period of the Skype Software and Services (the "Free Trial Period") ends. After the Free Trial Period ends, you will be presented with the option to subscribe to the Subscription Services. If you do not wish to subscribe, you acknowledge that you can not access functions and services only available to paid subscribers. To subscribe to the Subscription Services you must agree to the terms and conditions of the Subscription Services.

It's interesting (although not surprising unfortunately) that I couldn't find any mention of this bit on their website, like what parts aren't free after the trial period.  So this would be free phone calls as in free sample, not as in free beer...

TANSTAAFL I guess. (If you aren't a big enough geek to grok that, ask a friend.)

Thursday, 29 January 2004 12:57:11 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |