RE: The Three Myths of XML
The Tower of Babel is an old myth both for humans and for markup. The HTMLTerrorists used to it say that without supporting TimBL's "Shining Moment of Clarity" the web would devolve into a heap of system rubble and we would lose the universal capacity to communicate. That's a crock, and worse, it is the kind of zealous demogoguery that makes gives one organization authority to steal the intellectual property of another. "You didn't polish your silverware, so in the name of table sets across the world, we have stolen your silverware to give to those who will care for it and love it and decorate their tables with it." Blechhhh! Markup says the tower of babel is a natural phenomenon of communication among locally ruled systems and that any attempt to unite these systems through a single language will fail eventually. Markup says, lexical/syntax unification is the strongest agreement one needs (XML is ASCII on Steroids). The use of Schemas/DTDs simply lets the local tribe create its own agreements, decorate a rock to regulate it's trades so to speak. Nothing more. Who fears the tower of babel? Let it fall, baby. We got all kinds of rocks, and we know how to stack faster than any tribe from the Indus to the Euphrates. It's a full desert economy. As the sign says; "HIRING STACKERS AND CARVERS!" Again, I can decorate the rock but you have to want it to accept it in exchange for your cat. People who promote and fear such myths are the superstitious and opportunistic, who think we cannot think for ourselves so they must either think for us or take advantage of our thoughtlessness to trade a well-decorated rock for a cat. Hmmm... seems to me that is what I did when I got married. The rock is holding up very well. Len http://www.mp3.com/LenBullard Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti. Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h -----Original Message----- From: Michael Brennan [mailto:Michael_Brennan@a...] I think most of the hype of XML being magic is waning. There's a new myth being propagated, though. I've seen a spate of articles of late that characterize XML as a failure. XML is characterized as a "tower of Babel". The problem, according to these articles, is the lack of standardized vocabularies. Without those, XML is utterly useless. Once those standard vocabularies are established, though, systems will magically connect and talk to each other over the internet, ecommerce will hum along without human intervention like a well-oiled machine, interoperability issues will become a forgotten thing of the past. This seems to me pretty consistent with how the popular media tends to treat just about any new technology -- it's either a panacea or an utter failure; there's almost nothing in between. Complex subtleties are reduced to simple caricatures. Everything is cast in black and white. How many times have we heard a TV news story about an imminent cure for cancer/AIDS/whatever anytime a scientist makes an incremental advancement in understanding? I think the same phenomenon is at work, here. Some of it is natural fallout from trying to summarize a broad topic "in a nutshell". But much of it, I think, results from a combination of marketing hype and honest naivete. In time, the myths fade, only to be replaced by new ones. Fortunately that does not stop those with more balanced perspectives from recognizing the real value -- and shortcomings -- of new tools and finding useful, innovative ways to solve problems with them.
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