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RE: ConciseXML arguments

  • To: "Alaric B. Snell" <alaric@a...>,"Xml-Dev@Lists. Xml. Org (E-mail)" <xml-dev@l...>
  • Subject: RE: ConciseXML arguments
  • From: "Doug Ransom" <Doug.Ransom@p...>
  • Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 16:57:06 -0800
  • Thread-index: AcLDFp9oIzPo/mwPSxWmQQ6jY8L4DgAKpy7g
  • Thread-topic: ConciseXML arguments

doug langdale

> Sadly, it's not very nice to look at in XML; I prefer the 
> s-expression 
> approach myself *wicked grin* :-)
> (Person
>      Name: "Alaric Snell"
>  FaveFood: (Food ...))

Not sure if you are being serious, but I will take a shot at XML and S-expressions just in case.

Sadly, S-Expressions are not much better than XML to look it.  Its a little easier to make the content well formed.  The problem is using  tokens like '(' or ')' to seperate elements,  which are great for machine parsing, are hard for people to get visually.  Some languages do a much better job than lisp (and pretty much every other language) and XML:  haskell and sox http://www.langdale.com.au/SOX/ are two great examples.

here is a sox fragment:
        title> My Home Page
        h1> Contact Details

Few lines, extremely easy to read.

I think the killer editor for xml would be something like emacs, VS.Net, or any other smart editor that lets one edit in a SOX view, and saves/reads in XML 1.0, and figures out where errors are in sox view if the file is not well formed (although poor-formedness would be harder because of the syntax, its still can be hard to track down with entity references).

Most XML editors I have played with have been really annoying -- editing in some tree/grid type user interface is just not convenient, and its too hard to make the start and end tags match.  The auto-insert of close tag features some text editors have is much less practical than closing an S expression or removing a level of indentdation.

I think a very interesting article about XML would be how it came to be;  why is is tagged text instead of SOX or s-expressions?  What are the drawbacks culturally and tecnically.  If SGML weren't already in existance, would tagged text still have been the design?  

I love XML;  I just wish it weren't so clumsy to edit.

Doug Ransom

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>  - ARP
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