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Life as an SGML Neanderthal (WAS RE: The subsetting has begun)

  • To: 'Joe English' <jenglish@f...>, xml-dev@l...
  • Subject: Life as an SGML Neanderthal (WAS RE: The subsetting has begun)
  • From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@i...>
  • Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2003 12:20:53 -0600

neanderthal life
Homegrown vegetables at organic prices 
for vegan tastes?

There was no "standard" for the output, 
as I recall.  ESIS was the attempt to 
get that sort of thing, and it was 
the grandfather of the infoset.  ESIS 
wasn't part of the SGML standard; it 
was an afterthought.  An SGML parser 
vendor of the time can probably detail 
the true skinny.  Gavin?

Life in the markup world used to be a 
lot woolier.  We lived in caves carved 
out of ancient brick and mortar, ate consultants 
half cooked over a fire of burning DoD contracts, 
carried spears made of left-over dedicated word 
processors and dipped in DSR poison, wore the skins 
of our marketing staffs, and met once a year in Boston to 
celebrate the summer solstice with the 
local SGML Wiccans.  We collected coffee 
cups from CALS contractors who traded them 
for the arcane incantations to invoke the
Internet gods to command telnet demons
to fetch an RFP from a bulletin board.  
We abused WYSIWYGers and sat in council 
huts debating the uselessness of 
modeling document structures in relational 
tables, all to the beat of the drums of 
The SGML Way (whatever happened to that 
band? one hit and pooof.. gone from the 

Life was short and brutal.  Standards 
were long and brutal.  Trips to DC were 
just brutal.

Things are better now.  Where are my 


From: Joe English [mailto:jenglish@f...]
worked without the ESIS.

OK, I'm deeply confused.  I'm having a hard time imagining
any SGML application that doesn't at least care about
element boundaries and attribute values.

If these applications didn't use the ESIS, what could
possibly be left over that they *did* use?


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