Rick Jelliffe

Standards activist Rick Jelliffe is C.T.O. of Topologi Pty. Ltd, a company making XML-related desktop tools, and spends most of his time working on editors, validators and publishing-related markup. His main standards project currently is editing an upcoming ISO standard for the Schematron schema language, which he originally developed.

As well as his work with ISO SC34 and the original XML group at W3C, Rick was a sporadic member of the W3C Schema Working Group and the W3C Internationalization Interest Group. He also blogs regularly for XML.com and digitalmedia.oreilly.com.

He is the author of The XML & SGML Cookbook; Recipes on Structured Information and lead the Chinese XML Now project at Academia Sinica Computing Centre. He lives in Sydney, Australia, and has an economics degree from Sydney University.

Disclosure: In January 2007, Rick became embroiled in a controversy after mentioning in his XML.COM blog an approach from Microsoft for a several-day contract job to correct some Wikipedia entries from a neutral point of view, as an experienced technical writer with credible first-hand knowledge of standards and procedures. This was incorrectly reported as being a secret plot to subvert Wikipedia. With the support of many editors on Wikipedia, with complete transparency, and with care to respect the Wikipedia rules, Rick has started participating on the Wikipedia entries.

The company that is the co-owner of Topologi has a long-standing training business and will be providing some presenters for some Microsoft sponsored-events in 2007 in Australasia. It is highly likely that Rick will be one of the presenters on standards matters at some of these.

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XML's Dialect Problem - Diversity is not the problem; it is the requirement

March 17 2012

XML standards and technologies do not provide an adequate layer for coping with dialects. read more

Joaquín Almunia gets it: "Owners of ... standard essential patents are conferred a power .. that they cannot be allowed to misuse. "

February 12 2012

I think Almunia's speech does not go far enough: it still sees standardization as an escape hatch that a company that finds itself in a market dominating position can use when challenged. read more

Using Schematron to validate forms in a web browser

January 08 2012

Web programmer Daniel Epstein has a series up on his blog Ursa Dimished, called Simplify with an XML data model: it includes a page on using Schematron for browser-side validation of forms. Daniel is another developer who is frustrated that... read more

Mouse hanging by a thread?

October 09 2011

Recent research suggests that the XMRV assay methods are not reliable read more

XML Schema development approaches - Can we free our documents from the straightjacket of structure?

August 09 2011

The way that people approach developing schemas has evolved over the years: each new approach grows out of problems with the status quo (see Hegelian dialectic) but enriches rather than supplants. I thought I would take a little walk through... read more

ETL and Publishing

June 05 2011

I have for a few years been trying to come up with a good definition of publishing workflows: as an architectural pattern. The two key distinctive features, I think, are that publishing workflows are one-way flows rather than two-way flows... read more

Australian Whole-of-Government Common Operating Environment Policy and OOXML - AGIMO boots OpenOffice but Libre Office reboots OpenOffice?

January 28 2011

Two big stories this week: AGIMO's COE and LibreOffice. AGIMO is the Australian Government Information Management Office. They are the ones who set policies such as requiring govt web page meet the W3C's WCAG 2.0 guidelines for accessibility, or that... read more

What to do when you have get a mysterious spotted fever: improve Wikipedia!

January 10 2011

If you get some exotic illness, and you know what it is, make sure the Wikipedia entries have good links to credible sites read more

Nuke! - If I wanted an XML for 2010, what would its design be?

December 08 2010

Nuke is a mix of XML and JSON, with several new ideas thrown in. read more

Schema coverage report - SVRL to XSL and Ant

October 23 2010

You have a large or complex Schematron schema and it produces no errors. How do you know it is working? A coverage report lets you see how many of each Schematron rule was fired when checking the document(s). The report... read more

Mouse Wars

October 16 2010

In October 2010, the US NIH held a Workshop on XMRV with many new studies presented from different sources. The results are very striking. read more

Under-estimating XML as just a Tree - Composition, primary structure, internal links, external links

October 09 2010

Programmers and academics often think and theorize about XML as kind of tree data structure. And so indeed it is. But it also allows much more: it is a series of different graph structures composed into or imposed on that tree. read more

Do you need to make your own XSLT2 function definitions when using Schematron?

September 27 2010

Recently I have seen some Schematron schemas written by good XSLT programmers which basically represented all assertion tests as custom XSLT2 functions. (Schematron allows this.) The schemas were successful, in that they functioned as desired, but I don't think there... read more

Vale Java? Scala Vala palava - and Go too

August 28 2010

Dave Megginson (who drove the development of the SAX API that will be familiar to many XML developers who use Java) recently wrote Java is dead. Java stood out as a programming language (though not as a platform) in that... read more


August 16 2010

From the Cornell Law School's blog, Head of e-Services and Strategy at The (UK) National Archives, John Sheridan has written on the launch of Legislation.gov.uk. and mentioned this blog! A major influence on legislation.gov.uk was a blog posting by Rick... read more

Deliberate non-conformances in XML Schema implementations - Really, how could it be any other way?

August 06 2010

From SAXON's Michael Kay, on the XML-DEV mail list today: On interoperability, there are at least three reasons why you might get different results from different processors. One is because the specification leaves the behaviour of certain things implementation-defined (for... read more

Schema languages as if annotation mattered - with more on Operator Grammars

July 26 2010

In 2001 we had an interesting exchange about schema languages on the XML-DEV mail list. I had written Are we losing out because of grammars?. What do I think of it now? Four heads: disconnection, importance, a category error, and operator grammars. read more

Validating Operator Grammars in Schematron

July 21 2010

Operator Grammars is a linguistic theory that we can adopt (or be inspired by, or perhaps dumb-down) for validation purposes. We don't need more information than is in the Wikipedia summary: we want to suggest Schematron features that can handle... read more

Validating Markov Chains in Schematron

July 21 2010

Schematron can be used to report on rare sequences based on thresholds and probabilities from a hidden Markov model, as well as validating illegal sequences. read more

ISO member bodies vote to approve committee draft of new version of Schematron!

July 16 2010

Opening the champagne here in chilly blue-skied Sydney: the Committee Draft of the new version of ISO Schematron standard which I edit has been approved by a very good majority: 20 national bodies voted to approve as submitted, 9 national... read more

Land of long white cloud sees through the fog - An end to embedded software patents

July 16 2010

Dawn comes first in New Zealand! From the New Zealand governments Beehive.govt.nz website: Commerce Minister Simon Power has instructed the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) to develop guidelines to allow inventions that contain embedded software to be patented.... read more

Three 'Internets'

July 16 2010

I am used to the idea that there is an 'internet' of people (email, blogs, twitter, social media, phones, mail) and an 'internet' of data (WWW, W3C Linked Data/RDF, wikipedia, Atom feeds, HTML, ATM machines, etc), but an EU discussion... read more

Invasion of the padroids! - Is the success of the new gadgets a consumer rebellion against desktop operating systems?

July 15 2010

Articles on the success of the various hand-held devices recently tend to emphasize the gadget-y aspects like touch screens or form factors, or they emphasize the 'curated experience' angle. The positive reasons pulling consumers. But I wonder whether, with all... read more

Is Microsoft Security Essentials a virus?

July 15 2010

Imagine this: you make a new (re-) installation of Windows XP on some old PC you want to make good use of. You add all the updates, day after tedious day of updates. You do the whole Genuine Advantage thing.... read more

Running out of inodes in PC BSD - Comment out linprocfs?

July 12 2010

I had an odd problem last Friday with my new PC-BSD installation. Suddenly a whole lot of things stopped working: in particular, I couldn't load media or see extra disks. Opening up Dolphin file manager in Adminstrator mode (under the... read more

Google Australia escapes sanctions on a technicality for WiFi snoop privacy breach - But Federal Police on the case

July 11 2010

The Australian Privacy Commissioner found against my formerly odious neighbour Google Australia, but has been stopped from penalizing them by a well-known loophole: Under the current Privacy Act, I am unable to impose a sanction on an organisation when I... read more

ZVON: the Information Plunger

July 09 2010

I see the ZVON.org site has recently been renovated. It is a great site with tutorials or reference material on dozens of Web-related topics. Highly recommended. The site slogan is ZVON.org cleaning information pipelines but the logo says ZVON the... read more

Climategate revisited - Three reviews release their findings this week

July 09 2010

Unhelpful and defensive. Nothing remotely close to fraudulent or incompetent, or the other lurid allegations. read more

Highly Generic Schemas - A schema is like an aircraft: it can be designed for stability or maneuverability but not both.

July 07 2010

Developer Christophe Lauret recently commented: "A schema is like an aircraft: it can be designed for stability or maneuverability but not both." I recently have been trying a different method for designing intermediate schemas in publication chains. It is an exercise in taking the three-layer model for XML with Schematron… read more

ODF and OOXML Translation: Working Draft 2 of ISO technical report out - Scorecard of translatability

June 28 2010

The gnomes of ISO (err, ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 WG5) have released the ">second draft of their Technical Report comparing ODF and OOXML (PDF). It is up to 126 pages now, and much more fleshed out than the first draft. One... read more

Strike that: now I'm a PC-BSD! - Nothing but blue skies from now on...

June 25 2010

A fortnight ago I wrote in I'm a BSD about my initial adventures installing FreeBSD and trying to get it configured as a desktop system. After a few days, I had come to a halt. As one reader put it:... read more

Is ZIP in the public domain or not?

June 22 2010

What is the IP status of ZIP? This is a question of interest to standardizers and developers implementing standards, because so many new standards use ZIP. ODF and OOXML for example. Here is what the current PKWARE site says (with... read more

Europe to force all 'significant market players' to provide information necessary for interoperability?

June 12 2010

Three news items caught my interest this week. all slightly related: Dr. Neelie Kroes has made a significant speech How to get more interoperability in Europe on practical steps on interoperability and standards. She presents this as building on the... read more

I'm a BSD

June 11 2010

This week I am taking FreeBSD 8.0 for a spin. So far, I like it enough that it will probably be my normal desktop environment. It seems to have the right stuff: my PC seems markedly faster. FreeBSD's slogan is... read more

The status quo *is* monopoly

June 08 2010

May was an interesting month, where the press' narrative finally caught up that the competitors to Microsoft who so robustly co-opted the anti-market-domination argument have found themselves now as market dominators. Of course, some of this will be Microsoft pushback.... read more

Ruby Schematron

June 04 2010

Francesco Lazzarino has a project up at RubyForge for a Ruby runner for ISO Schematron. (Open source: MIT/ Consortium License) Schematron is a small ISO-standard language for making assertions or reports about patterns in and between XML documents, typically using... read more

Australian Government procurement policy on Open Standard document formats - Open Source and Open Standards: Chicken and Egg or Apples and Oranges?

June 02 2010

Over the last few years I have linked to various national government policies on Open Source software and procurement policies. But I see I omitted us in Australia. So here is what I can find, from 2005: Guide to Open... read more

EGovernment at the Legislature - From Emerald Isle to Emerald Slippers

May 29 2010

Sean McGrath is writing a series around the design issues for KLISS (Kansas Legislative Information Services System) which his company is doing. read more

Miguel de Icaza: we can't blame third parties for our failures

May 05 2010

I wish I did not agree with Miguel de Icaza's blog from last month The Right Spirit. I interpret him as not meaning "you should" when he says "we should": I think he is not being dogmatic. Here are some... read more

Tim O'Reilly State of the Internet Operating System - The consumers are restless

May 04 2010

I usually don't link to posts here at oreilly.com (which kindly hosts this blog), but Tim O'Reilly has a strong pair of articles out: The State of the Internet Operating System in two parts: Part 1 and Handicapping the Internet... read more


May 04 2010

It strikes me that harmonization of XML standards (i.e. where you have different XML standards covering much the same ground and you want a workable strategy for converging them) needs to be as much concerned with granularity issues as it... read more

Announcing Schematron for Ant v3ᵝ - Plus some other OSS sites

April 22 2010

The latest release for the Schematron for Ant (Java) task is now available at SCHEMATRON.COM. This is the third release of the Schematron for Ant task which has been through four or five different programmers' hands over the years. The... read more

Eric Meijer's Confessions - Is Scala the FOSS Linq?

April 21 2010

I have been looking at making parsers in Scala, to figure out a good way to get an expression validator for XPath2. Followed some links and arrived at a killer 2006 ICFP paper by Eric Meijer Confessions of a Used... read more

A Sketch on Modeling Dialects of XML File Formats

April 20 2010

Here is a thought experiment, which is a model of OOXML and its dialects. I could have chosen ODF or HTML. When we talk about OOXML sometimes we mean one if its formal specifications, sometimes we mean a particular package format, sometimes we mean what an application can generate or… read more

Family Tree of Schema Languages for XML (2010)

April 20 2010

Since 1999 I have been updating a little diagram Family Tree of Schema Languages for XML. Here is the 2010 version. Here are links to different formats: PDF, PNG, JPEG. I have added entries for Schema Association, MCE, CSDL, OASIS... read more

Can Schematron use grammars to test assertions?

April 19 2010

A few thousand lines in C or Java. 1 line in XPath! read more

Can Schematron use grammars to test assertions?

April 19 2010

A few thousand lines in C or Java. 1 line in XPath! read more

The XML Character Encoding Detection Routine in Different Programming Languages

April 16 2010

The XML encoding detection routine is a nice single page size for comparing programming language capabilities related to simple scanning. Here are a few. Scala Python Java C++ search function definition for xmlSwitchInputEncodingInt PHP... read more

Public draft of next generation of ISO Schematron available for comment - ISO/IEC CD 19757

April 15 2010

The Committee Draft (CD) of the new version of ISO Schematron is now available at the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 SC34 Website. In the JTC1 workflow, this is the version that National Bodies comment on over the next 3 months. You... read more

Representing and Calculating the Cost of Processing for an Electronic Document - Another use for Schematron

April 13 2010

When you have a data supplier and a data consumer sending each other forms-type information (e.g. over the WWW) the supplier (lets call them the applicant) and the consumer (lets call them the institution) each have conflicting tactics for cost... read more

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Rick Jelliffe