Now that the XML Catalog specification has been approved as an OASIS Standard, it feels like the end of an era to me. I’ve been chairing the Entity Resolution Technical Committee since its inception way back in October 2000 , working with a good group of people. As Norm put it today, we’d be happy to work on any standard with this group. Everyone working together, no posturing, no weird agendas, just people trying to find the best solution to a problem. It made the group easy to chair, and I’m confident the results reflect that; I can’t help but suspect that dysfunctional committee politics results in specifications that are not as good as they could have been.
So I’m a little nostalgic right now, remembering the first discussions, the meetings at conferences, as well as the break we took in the middle before deciding to go for that “OASIS Standard” moniker. The TC still has 3 of the original 4 co-proposers (Norm Walsh, Paul Grosso, and me; John Cowan had to pull out part-way through due to work obligations). New people joined, and others left, but overall we had a pretty stable group.
So I want to thank the members of the ER TC, both past and present, and also Mary McRae and Robin Cover of OASIS. Your good humour, desire to do the right thing, and willingness to put in the effort all meant a lot and made it possible to finalize the specification and show members of OASIS why it’s useful. I’d also like to thank the implementors of the catalog spec who proved that it’s implementable! I believe catalogs will be widely used in the future, even if, like much XML plumbing, people won’t actually see a catalog very often.
So feel free to drop by the Sun booth at XML 2005 to talk about catalogs; either Norm or I are likely to be there and Norm will have his catalog implementation on his laptop to show people (along with a bunch of other things, of course).