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XML & SGML

  • From: Paul Prescod <papresco@t...>
  • To: xml-dev <xml-dev@i...>
  • Date: Wed, 06 May 1998 16:28:13 -0400

similarities sgml html xml
"The similarities between the two languages, in syntax, origin, and
possible application, have led several members of the community to deny
any separation between the two markup languages. From their perspective,
XML is SGML - less SGML perhaps, but still SGML. Consortia, publications,
newsgroups, and mailing lists currently mix discussion of XML and SGML,
blurring the distinctions further."

I think that the inaccuracies of English are more at fault than anything,
but I don't think that the two statements above belong together. There is
no separation between XML and SGML, because every application of SGML has
always, and will always, live on a continuum from simplicity (now
explicitly embodied in XML) and sophistication (I'm tempted to say this is
embodied in HyTime, but things like RDF also show major signs of
sophistication and complexity).

But the fact that there is no separation does not imply that there should
not be no separate publications, newsgroups and mailing lists for XML.
There are magazines/newsgroups/consortia targeted towards beginning
webmasters and gurus, OO dabblers and UML masters. As the easy form of
SGML, XML deserves magazines, books, classes etc. 

I reject the parent/child analogy because it would imply, for instance,
that RDF belongs in a magazine on XML and not SGML, and "an intro to
architectural forms" belongs in a magazine on SGML but not XML. The
reverse is true. RDF applies at least as much to SGML as it does to XML
(perhaps more, because it is in the complexity class of HyTime, not HTML).
Architectural forms will eventually apply to XML as much as to SGML unless
someone comes up with something better. You couldn't really come up with
something much simpler that would do the same job...but you could perhaps
come up with something technically better.

 Paul Prescod  - http://itrc.uwaterloo.ca/~papresco

"Perpetually obsolescing and thus losing all data and programs every 10
years (the current pattern) is no way to run an information economy or
a civilization." - Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog
http://www.wired.com/news/news/culture/story/10124.html


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