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Re: Are XML's Good Ideas hidden? (was Re: Re: Whatar

10/26/2002 4:16:03 PM, Mike Champion <mc@x...> wrote:

>Is is all over now, or is there some way to get out the word that XML really 
>*is* simple and useful without all the layers and layers of hype, complexity, 
>and drag-n-drop tools that exploit the power of XML for the benefit of 
>vendors while denying its benefits to users?

As often happens, I let my rhetorical flourishes obscure my intent here :-)

I personally think that it is very important to keep XML conceptually simple and 
minimalist, creating a market for tools that automate the tedium so
as to make it easy to use. WYSIWYG XML authoring tools and XSLT visual stylesheet
generator come to mind as perfectly appropriate ways to make elegant specs usable
by ordinary developers.  Good tools help users learn specs by letting them do
something visually and then look at/ tweak the actual source.  That's essentially
how I learned SGML when I worked for Arbortext.

What I object to are specs whose complexity is  justified by the 'fact' that 
they were not meant to be used by humans,  and therefore tools are necessary
for even experts to work with the specs.  If what the tool generates is so
mind numbingly complex that no sane person would even THINK about trying to
tweak it, then the chances are good that XML is being used for the vendor's
benefit rather than the user's.  

"Good" tools are crutches to assist ordinary developers use simple specs that 
are tedious to use ... "Bad" tools are straightjackets keeping ordinary developers bound 
to a vendor's embraced/extended profile of a spec that is difficult to use.


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