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Re: Fixing what's broke

  • From: Stephen Green <stephengreenubl@gmail.com>
  • To: vojtech.toman@emc.com
  • Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2010 11:24:14 +0000

Re:  Fixing what's broke
> But in XML, if I look at it as a data exchange format, I am not sure if introducing more relaxed parsing rules would do any good. More options often lead to confusion and to more room for making mistakes, and the last thing you want is to get unexpected (maybe completely correct wrt the parsing/recovery rules, but unexpected to the data author nonetheless) results from the XML parser on the receiving side.

But it's worth giving it a try, isn't it? Isn't that how HTML5 started
(and most webby things).
People tried microformats and found they were useful enough to be
adapted for HTML5.
What gets accepted flies, what doesn't work gets dropped and that
seems to be the way
the Web has grown. XML is different, in many developers' eyes (not
just web developers):
It has been designed by committee and dropped on the world from a
great height (not that
I and many others don't greatly appreciate and value that). Look at C,
HTML, SMPT, etc and
they were mainly the hard work and great design ideas of one or two
people, owned by
one. Then sometimes tried and tested for a few years in a melting pot
of a small group of
real developers before being published for wider use (but not
necessarily standardised
by ISO or the like till years later after endless cases of successful
use - or just dropped if
not successful). XML seems to be more about the compromised ideals of
a concensus
committee (or committees) with its that work and bits that don't, a
bit like it's cousin the
WS stack. The usual web developer thing to do with a set of
technologies like this seems
to be to open them up to the developer community and let people hack
them around and
make them into what they like to use then offer them back as some kind
of submission and
maybe standardise the end result (but by then they lose interest -
they'd use CSS even if
it wasn't a standard I supsect). That might be the way XMl would have
to go to get wider
web adoption - painful (perhaps prohibitively so) as that might be to
XML-heads. Of course
this is all anecdotal and so many on this list know the real facts so
I'll shut up :-)

----
Stephen D Green



On 10 December 2010 10:24,  <vojtech.toman@emc.com> wrote:
>> > May I ask if the success of XML is attributed to its verbosity?
>> >
>> > Introducing terse but complex syntax like skipping/stripping end tags sound
>> > like 're-engineering' a traffic junction to have no lights and assuming
>> > everyone understands when to stop/move.
>> > You save on traffic lights, but your traffic slows down. We can always point
>> > people to a detailed manual instructing how to operate, but yeah, how many
>> > humans do that diligently.
>>
>> But hasn't HTML succeeded even more so than XML? And hasn't that partly
>> been down to it making assumptions about what 'everyone understands'?
>> So maybe XML would be even more successful - and, more on topic, get more
>> take-up on the Web - if it became more like HTML which by and large would
>> mean relaxing a lot of things.
>
> In the web browser, it is great that the HTML parser can recover from the mistakes in the markup and still show me a more or less faithful rendition of the page. That's the obvious value of the relaxed parsing rules. The web page contains a lot of visual redundancy and I, as a human observer, typically don't care if two paragraphs are rendered as one, or if the table looks a little different in browser X. I can still make sense of it.
>
> But in XML, if I look at it as a data exchange format, I am not sure if introducing more relaxed parsing rules would do any good. More options often lead to confusion and to more room for making mistakes, and the last thing you want is to get unexpected (maybe completely correct wrt the parsing/recovery rules, but unexpected to the data author nonetheless) results from the XML parser on the receiving side.
>
> (Note: this wasn't about verbosity; that is a whole different subject.)
>
> Vojtech
>
> --
> Vojtech Toman
> Consultant Software Engineer
> EMC | Information Intelligence Group
> vojtech.toman@emc.com
> http://developer.emc.com/xmltech
>
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