Which Mailing List Should You Join?
December 1, 1999
Subscribing to mailing lists or newsgroups is a great way to stay up to date on XML, contribute to discussions, and find answers to problems.
There is a wealth of forums for the discussion of XML-related topics. In fact, there are so many options that it can be difficult to know where to start.
The purpose of this guide is to survey the most popular forums, to communicate their strengths, and help you decide which mailing list to join. We intend to revise it on a regular basis, to reflect the change in the forums and the growth in XML interest.
As a starting point, read our guide below and make sure you're posting to the the relevant forum. Observing proper netiquette in an XML discussion forum will increase the usefulness of the group for both yourself and others. Read the archives, or "lurk" for a while, before making your first post. If you're asking a question, make sure you've searched the archives or read the FAQ before posting. Don't unnecessarily include previous posts in your own, post your messages in plain text (no HTML posts or attachments), and don't send long files.
That said, you will find an exceedingly helpful and smart community in the XML mailing lists and newsgroups.
This mailing list exists to facilitate general discussion of XML. It is a good place to ask questions if you are just starting out and are considering the potential benefits of XML usage. The quality of responses is usually very high: some experienced XML developers and authors read and post to this list.
This newsgroup is similar in character to the XML-L mailing list, hosting a broad range of topics. Traffic is higher on this newsgroup than on XML-L, however, and the discussions can be less focused.
This is definitely the most technical and well-used of the XML mailing lists. Notable for its group effort leading to the development of SAX, the Simple API for XML, this list is read by the most experienced XML developers, many of whom are members of W3C working groups.
Questions of a nature central to the future development of XML are often raised here—frequently leading to long and involved discussions. XML-DEV is not always an easy place for the beginner.
This mailing list was created for the discussion of XSL technology: XSLT Transforms and XSL Formatting Objects (FOs). XSL is turning out to be one of the most popular applications of XML. A broad spectrum of developers, from expert to beginner, subscribe and post to this list. XSL tools developers like Mike Kay, James Clark and James Tauber discuss finer points of the specifications and their implementations on the list.
Despite the presence of such heavyweights, questions from beginners and those struggling with XSL are also welcome, and frequently meet with very helpful responses. It has almost become a spectator sport to observe how many ingenious answers come back to a question about XSLT! The XSLT archives, linked below, are searchable, and contain some very useful information. Try searching these before posting a problem.
Traffic level: Medium/High (20-30 posts per day)
How to subscribe: Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org containing "subscribe XSL-List" in the body.
If you are using Microsoft technologies and platforms to create your XML applications, then a great deal of peer support is to be found in this newsgroup, as well as input from Microsoft's own developers.
This is the best place in which to ask questions and find out the latest news about Microsoft's XML initiatives.
Discussions on this popular mailing list center around the use of Visual Basic for programming XML applications, in combination with other Microsoft XML technologies.
A relative newcomer, the dev-xml group was formed for programmers with a particular focus on Windows development, especially using Visual C++ and Visual Basic.
The XML interest list is strictly for those developing Active Server Pages XML solutions. It is a moderated list, so although the volume of posts is low, the discussion should be of a reasonable quality.
Mailing lists exist for the discussion of XML using popular programming languages. Topics normally range from beginner-level questions through to the implementation of language-specific XML toolkits.
The Perl XML mailing list can be quite lively, with discussions between the authors of the Perl XML modules, as well as contributions from Larry Wall himself, and some other well known names in XML. As with most of the language-specific XML mailing lists, the spectrum of discussions ranges from beginner-level to in-depth implementation issues.
This mailing list has been set up to help the efforts of the Python XML special interest group, whose aim is to develop XML tools for Python. Questions about, and suggestions for, Python XML support should be posted to this list.
The java-xml-interest mailing list is a low-volume list for discussion of Java development in XML. While traffic volumes are low, it's a good place to ask specific questions regarding Java XML parsers and integrating XML with Java applications.
Traffic level: Very low (<5 posts per week)>
How to subscribe: Send mail to email@example.com with "subscribe java-xml-interest" in the body.
Although Tcl may not be the language everyone thinks of first in connection with XML, the TclXML mailing list provides a home for Tcl developers working in XML. Steve Ball, the developer of the main Tcl/XML packages, is a frequent poster to this list.
This list supports a project to create simplified subsets of XML for use in e-commerce and messaging, as well as issuing guidelines for highly portable XML.
This mailing list is for those interested in doing electronic business using XML. Discussions rangely widely from questions focused on particular industries (e.g. the travel industry) to announcements and discussions of general e-business initiatives.
This mailing list is closely affilliated to the XML/edi group, and subscription to the list involves a declaration of membership of this group.
Traffic level: Low (~5 posts per day)
How to subscribe: visit the XML/edi group signup page.
This list is for developers and deployers of SOAP, the Simple Object Access Protocol. It is hosted by Developmentor.