Re: An open plea to the W3C (was Re: XInclude vs SAX vs
Apparently we're not the only ones comparing XML complexity and usefulness to programming languages. This came (in a different context) from a friend of mine, who prefers to be known here as "anonymous coward", > XML Schema seems far too bloated and complex. > Here's a quote from Edsger Dijkstra; he was > talking about programming languages, but I think it applies > wonderfully well here. Edgser W. Dijkstra/ Turing Award Lecture/ Communications of the ACM, Vol. 15, Number 10, October 1972 Finally, although the subject is not a pleasant one, I must mention PL/I, a programming language for which the defining documentation is of a frightening size and complexity. Using PL/I must be like flying a plane with 7,000 buttons, switches, and handles to manipulate in the cockpit. I absolutely fail to see how we can keep our growing programs firmly within our intellectual grip when by its sheer baroqueness the programming language - our basic tool, mind you! - already escapes our intellectual control. And, if I have to describe the influence PL/I can have on its users, the closest metaphor that comes to my mind is that of a drug. I remember from a symposium on higher level programming languages a lecture given in defense of PL/I by a man who described himself as one of its devoted users. But within a one-hour lecture in praise of PL/I, he managed to ask for the addition of about 50 new "features," little supposing that the main source of his problems could very well be that it contained already far too many "features." The speaker displayed all the depressing symptoms of addiction, reduced as he was to the state of mental stagnation in which he could only ask for more, more, more.... When FORTRAN has been called an infantile disorder, PL/I, with its growth characteristics of a dangerous tumor, could turn out to be a fatal disease. Simon St.Laurent http://simonstl.com
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