Re: What is XML For?
Alaric B. Snell wrote: >... > > Because XML has a fragile data model, designed for publishing stuff to a > browser rather than transfer between applications? XML is based on SGML which was invented long before browsers as we know them. > ... In HTML you just ignored > unknown tags, which was fine because the text inside would still be rendered > just maybe without the desired styling. With XML they made everything more > fragile, it had to conform to a DTD, but your document supplier could > suddenly start supplying documents with a different DTD and as long as they > XSLT pointed at by <?xml-stylesheet?> was also changed to work with the new > DTD it'd still work OK. It's aimed more at displaying data to people than for > interchange of information between bits of software... I'm still trying to > find out where the 'XML data' idea first arose. It arises naturally from the observation that structured data (tuple structured, hieararchically structured, graph structured, recursive) is a subset of the kinds of data you will find in the documents XML was designed to handle. A telephone book is tuple-structured. An airplane manual is mostly hierarchically structured but with frequent escapes to graph structure. There is no boundary between data and documents but of course there may be a point on the spectrum where XML produces small benefit (e.g. if CSV is all you need). At that point you might use XML merely to leverage the existence of XML-aware tools. If you don't need them then you probably don't need XML. Paul Prescod
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