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Blaming the programmers (was Re: malfunctioning, evil adult as XML)

evil programmer
From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@i...>
> That's an advantage not a problem.  Programmers
> have problems with advantages that are not
> consistent with their problems.

(in the interset of full disclosure, I am a programmer.)

This is the second time you that you have made such a comment about

The problem is not with programmers.

Programmers who *do* work with hypertext exclusively probably don't have any
problems at all (though I don't know this for sure as I am not one of those
types of programmers).

For the rest of the programmers out there (of which I include myself),  the
problems with XML existed the moment they started using it.  I'll admit
right now that this is a "one man's tea, another man's poison" perspective
issue.  But like it or not, non-hypertext programmers are having XML shoved
down their throat as the new way to do just about everything.  You want to
connect two accounting systems together over the net? Use XML!  You want to
store arbitrary data in a way that can be easily accessed by generic tools?
Use XML!  You want to create layered APIs that seamlessly work together? Use
XML!  And all this time, these programmers are asking themselves "why?".
Well, because their boss saw it in Information Week, their tools vendor has
rewritten everything to use it, and the W3C comes out with XML Datatypes,
etc. to bolster the notion that XML is just as good for non-hypertext uses.

Does this mean that XML is useless to these programmers?  Certainly not!
XML has a certain value, both as a specific tool and as a demonstration of
how information might be organized more effectively.  This is why there are
so many alternatives to XML (again, for full disclosure, I created one too,
called ONX).  From what I have seen of many of them, they either throw away
the notion of hypertext altogether or try to strike a balance between
"data-oriented" and "document-oriented".  In most of these cases, they have
understood the value of XML (self-descriptive, structured, human-parsable,
etc) and taken that with them, leaving behind what they felt was nothing but
baggage.  Unfortunately, none of these have gained the support (and
therefore popularity) that XML has.  There are many reasons for this, but
the biggest among them is this ever-growing blinding devotion to XML.  As a
result, superior alternatives (for given situations) out there are being
overlooked for the not quite One True Solution, XML.

Here's an odd notion:  use XML for what it's good for and nothing more.  But
if the industry is going to insist on using it for *everything*, then expect
to hear "programmers" to argue what's wrong with it.

Seairth Jacobs


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