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why XML? (was Re: Personal reply)

  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@s...>
  • To: "Thomas B. Passin" <tpassin@h...>, XML DEV <xml-dev@l...>
  • Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 10:13:03 -0500

why XML? (was Re: Personal reply)
I guess the question's moved all the way back to first principles. Good 
sign?  Bad sign?  Who knows.

At 09:17 PM 3/12/01 -0500, Thomas B. Passin wrote:
>1) Why use markup at all?

Because clean labeled structures written using textual notation are 
relatively easy to create, process, and exchange.

>2) Does xml-schemas move us farther along the path started by HTTP and 
>HTML, or not?  Why? And is that a GOOD THING?

To me, it feels like W3C XML Schemas are in a completely different spirit 
than HTTP and HTML.  Rather than stripping away functionality and 
requirements to produce something useful in open environments (as HTML/HTTP 
did to closed-system hypertext), XML Schemas feels like a piling on of 
functionality that can only really be useful and reliable in tightly 
controlled environments.

I'd suggest that XML Schemas is deeply different from the Web architecture 
which hosts it.  XML Schemas feels like a tool which is very useful in 
certain (tightly controlled) contexts, and an impediment to projects in 
other (more open) contexts.  That might explain some of why it isn't 
universally loved.

(Yes, I'm aware that I'm over-simplifying and that it is indeed _possible_ 
to use XML Schema in open environments.  I just don't think XML Schema and 
the Web are a particularly good fit, especially as XML Schema becomes 
entangled into other XML specs.)


Simon St.Laurent - Associate Editor, O'Reilly and Associates
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
XHTML: Migrating Toward XML
http://www.simonstl.com - XML essays and books


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