At 10:34 AM 5/9/99 -0700, Ned Freed wrote:
While all of these are true, you've missed the big downside to "tweak the
dispatched-to program": Such programs lose big-time in the integration they
can offer in the client environment.
More specifically, what happens when the XML-dispatching program decides,
"Surprise! The original client is the agent best suited to display of this
particular XML object." The problem is that even in tightly integrated plug in
setups there's usually no way to communicate this sort of thing back to the
client's dispacher to the point where a truly seamless display can be
The inevitable result is suboptimal integration, which users, myself included,
I can't agree with you here. Yes, Eudora does this badly, but I think this
is a problem with the implementation, not the idea. If an MUA or Web
display engine says "I can natively display a stream of XML", then the
integration with an intermediary is not difficult at all.
This is another instance of a problem we first encountered with security
multiparts: When you dispatch handling of a security multipart to a separate
application, getting the enclosed data back to the original client often
isn't possible. And while a few clients have adopted plugin architectures
that address this (Eudora, for example), most have not, and worse, plugins
capable of working really well in such environments have been slow in coming.
I've spoken with people who make such plugins (such as the ones I try to
use with Eudora), and they complain about the Eudora API, not about their
ability to hand back blobs of text to the program. In my mind, this can't
be all that hard for data types that the original program knows how to
handle, particularly if they are guaranteed not to get back a multipart.
To me, the problems of "original clients" displaying XML handed back to
them from a process that decides what goes where isn't a serious issue. The
more serious issue in my mind is that we are starting to get a significant
number of XML formats and some viewers, and we haven't agreed to a method
for them to link those through MIME. I think we need to say "yes, MIME is
your linkage and here's exactly how" (which I don't think we are ready to
do), or we must say "MIME is not your linkage and you need to come up with
your own methods."
--Paul Hoffman, Director
--Internet Mail Consortium