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RE: reaching humans (was Re: Extract A Subset of a W

aw extract download
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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