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  • From: "Meltsner, Kenneth J" <Kenneth.J.Meltsner@jci.com>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 10:56:09 -0600

     David Winer, developer of the Frontier scripting language, has gone
     over to the XML camp.

     His website (www.scripting.com) is now keeping all of its changes in
     XML format.  Also, the last couple of messages from his mailing list
     are centered on how great XML is.

     I've included one (without permission) to show what's going on:

>From Scripting News... It's DaveNet! Released on 12/15/97; 6:43:15 AM PST
     Everyone talks in hushed tones about XML. Shhh. It's exciting! But
     what does it do?

     I can't get involved with something without immediately trying to
     ground it with an application. How else could I know if it's worth

     Luckily, I had an application waiting for XML. ***siteChanges.xml
     Jump to this page, and if necessary, view source to see a real
     application of XML.


     A scheduled script produces that file, running every night at 12
     midnight Pacific. It scans our server for new pages, or pages that
     were modified in the last 24 hours.

     A search engine like Alta Vista, InfoSeek, Newsbot or Excite could
     read this page every night at 9AM GMT. They wouldn't have to crawl the
     whole site to find the pages that changed, as they do now, they could
     just load the pages that have changed since the last time they

     ***How was the file generated?

     It doesn't matter!

     One bit of software can talk to another, and all they need to agree
     about is the format of the data they want to exchange. There's nothing
     interesting about how the information is generated (mod dates are a
     common feature of all current operating systems). What matters is
     that there's a format that can be understood on all operating systems.
     So even if we use PERL running on Solaris to create the XML-based
     info, you can read it on Windows 95 running Microsoft Access, or on an
     IBM mainframe running Oracle, or Rhapsody running Sybase, or an
     ancient CP/M box running dBASE II.

     It doesn't matter. That's the magic of XML.

     ***It's about relationships

     XML allows sites to easily establish an ongoing relationship with
     search engines. Each machine does what it's good at doing. Network
     traffic is minimized. The best picture of our site assembles itself on
     the search engine server.

     On our LAN it's easy and fast to find all the pages that changed. Why
     should a search engine struggle to find this information when we can
     easily generate it? There's no need.

     We've been waiting for an agreed-to format for this functionality. I
     think every webmaster will recognize the value of maintaining this
     information. We need agreement with the search engine companies. If
     you represent such a company, please send me email so you can be
     included in the discussion.

     I think we need a practical example of real-world XML. This may be the
     first one?

     ***Is XML just hype?

     No, it's not. Unlike some other industry initiatives, there are
     applications waiting for XML. I wouldn't be involved if that weren't

     XML can go somewhere. First search engines, then caches running on
     your LAN, then sandboxes running on each machine.


     We're going somewhere...

     Let's have fun!

     Dave Winer

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