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Re:

  • From: u123724 <u123724@gmail.com>
  • To: Peter Flynn <peter@silmaril.ie>
  • Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:31:58 +0100

Re:
I don't believe XML or SGML will go away anytime soon:

- the web has cemented the role of markup (eg. arguably the majority
of open access content has already been written in HTML)
- HTML hasn't changed all that much since 1999, and going by recent
activity on the WHATWG mailing list (or lack thereof) won't change in
the future at all unless something really unforeseen happens (such as
the discovery of a new species with a non-sequential language or
something)
- sadly, new players in the web browser landscape are unlikely (the
big push for HTML5, CSS3/4 and newer JavaScript runtimes have resulted
in very complex/expensive user agents)
- the dominant alternative Wiki syntax (markdown) is specified as a
shortform syntax for HTML (with a canonical HTML mapping); other Wiki
syntaxes such as MediaWiki, rST, AsciiDoc and yaml/toml (if these
should be considered markup or text languages at all) have found their
niche but aren't serious contenders
- open source tools for these markup languages and Wiki syntaxes are abundant
- we're supposedly living in a post-standards world (don't we?) so I
don't see where a big push for a new document format should come from
(a new format should cover SGML/XML, so must be at least as complex
plus bring something essentially new; so we're talking about 10+ years
worth of research and specification work)

I don't consider JSON a replacement for text/document-oriented use
cases at all; just because XML was at some point used as serialization
format for RPC requests/responses and is superseded by JSON in many
cases doesn't mean JSON makes a text format.

SGML/XML remain the best motivated document languages we have. Of
course there's generational churn with younger users having their own
opinion, but for those interested in document exchange, production for
the web, long-term preservation of content, etc., I don't see the
alternative.

Marcus Reichardt
sgmljs.net/blog.html

On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 11:32 PM, Peter Flynn <peter@silmaril.ie> wrote:
> On 03/23/2017 02:34 PM, Steve Newcomb wrote:
>> On 03/22/2017 07:54 PM, Peter Flynn wrote:
>>> Given that hardly any automotive documentation is in XML (or even SGML)
>>> any more ("too hard"), it's probably moot for this group, unless we want
>>> to start a user-supported tractor-documentation project:-
>>
>> I would argue, smilingly, that Peter's "too hard" observation is
>> on-topic.
>
> This has happened in another well-known field too: LaTeX (see
> http://latex.silmaril.ie/formattinginformation/preface.html#myths2)
>
> Like LaTeX, XML is not "difficult", it's just "different", both from
> wordprocessors and from conventional programming languages.
>
> Writers wouldn't like it because of the many reasons I have gone into
> before; programmers hate it because it's not _per se_ a programming
> language.
>
>> If the XML community doesn't choose to respond to change, or even
>> acknowledge it, it is moribund.  Adapt or die.
>
> It will eventually be superseded by something else. In the meantime it
> is receding into the wainscoting as it should: invisible to anyone
> except ourselves, but sitting there doing its job.
>
>> P.S.: SGML was "too hard", too.  The transformation into XML involved
>> shedding features that, in retrospect, were solutions to problems that
>> had once been considered compelling.
>
> Unfortunately, once editors had been written to enable one-click (well,
> maybe two-click) markup insertion and other markup manipulation, the job
> was considered done. There is ample scope for editors which do a better
> job for actually authoring in XML, especially for non-XML-expert
> authors, but publishers are largely uninterested in this route, having
> been bitten too many times in the past.
>
> ///Peter
>
>
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