RE: reaching humans (was Re: Extract A Subset of a W
Patrick.Garvey@t... writes: >Perverse is a very strong term to use. It was as polite a word as I could find. >markup is also cool for separating data and processes that act on that >data. yes, it's pretty heavyweight and there's all kinds of more >lightweight data interchange formats, but XML has got all this inertia >behind it and really great toolsets. Otright disparaging the use of >markup for purely machine communication can't be mainstream either. As >long as you can pay someone (or get paid for) debugging a bunch of ><UDWhatever_22> tags, then fine -- you get to use all the fancy APIs. >Why is this bad? Purely maintenance, IMHO. It's bad for a number of reasons. First, lousy markup design - for that's what I'll call it - sets bad precedents for people. If all I've encountered is <UDWhatever_22>, and that's what I think XML is, I'm liable to run like hell rather than deal with XML unless I'm paid an awful lot. (That's my general response to RDF/XML, and apparently it's not an unusual reaction.) Second, that kind of markup is only useful until we can't find the documentation any more. For cases where the documentation is always going to be absolutely positively necessary, maybe that's fine. Third, you're accepting all the costs of markup - text processing, verbose descriptions, etc. - and getting only a few of the benefits. If machine to machine communication is all you care about, there are much more efficient yet still interoperable ways to do it. Momentum's great, until the wave stops and you're left on a barren beach, far from the next potential improvement. Fourth, you're pretty much declaring that your markup is only to be handled by trained professionals. I guess that works fine with the cult of the programmer-priest, but it's not much good for the folks who actually like to get their hands dirty with the data but aren't necessarily programmers. That's a brief list; I'll be happy to come up with more if provoked. One of my hopes for the W3C Binary Infosets meeting is that someone realizes that markup is a crappy solution for a lot of the projects people are using it for, and that perhaps they'll be able to come up with better answers more appropriate to the tasks and programming cultures where XML has landed. -- Simon St.Laurent Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets Errors, errors, all fall down! http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org
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