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   RE: RFD: comp.text.xml

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  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <SimonStL@classic.msn.com>
  • To: "Xml-Dev (E-mail)" <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>, "XML-L (E-mail)" <XML-L@LISTSERV.HEA.IE>
  • Date: Sat, 2 May 98 17:20:08 UT

Len made some comments about the RFD which I heartily disagree with.

>> XML is a new language, and it appears that it will be extremely
>> popular.
>XML is a subset of SGML as specified by ISO.  It is a 
>consortium-owned subset without normative reference to 
>the parent standard.

XML is more than a subset of SGML.  It has its own limitations, its own 
practices, and its own audience.  You can debate whether or not it is a 'new 
language' just as the XML-DEV list has argued whether the XML spec contains 
just syntax or syntax and semantics, but I think you're splitting hairs, at 
best.  New acronym, new approach, fine - new language.

Personally, I'd like to see XML make a clean parent-child break with SGML.  
XML should acknowledge SGML as the parent, the teacher, the source of 
inspiration, and move on to live its own life.  I'd like to see XML have its 
own place to grow.  If that means that it acquires features from SGML (like 
architectural forms, which David Megginson pointed out on XML-L), then fine - 
but it shouldn't be forever limited to being a 'mere' subset.

>> While it may appear at first that comp.text.sgml is appropriate, there will
>> be those interested in XML who do not care about the arcana of SGML, and
>> there will be those interested in SGML who do not care to see many basic
>> questions about XML.
>This is speculative not substantive.  The membership of the XML and XML 
>application communities overlaps the SGML community.  The extent of 
>overlap should be examined, but it is probably greater than a majority.

The extent of overlap may be examined, but I doubt it will be a majority for 
more than few months.  XML is arousing interest in many computing sectors 
(HTML developers, database developers, OOP programmers) who in the past had 
nothing (or as little as possible) to do with SGML. 

I can go through my email archive and find at least fifty people who have come 
to XML but had no previous experience in SGML and show no interest in learning 
it.  There may be bias because my book deliberately targeted a non-SGML 
audience, but that audience certainly exists and is growing rapidly.

>At this time, the comp-text-sgml newsgroup can support the discussion 
>of SGML subsets such as the W3C consortium subset, XML and its

I've been perusing comp.text.sgml for the last few months.  While I'm 
impressed with the quality of discussion (as I have been on XML-DEV and 
XML-L), I don't think it's a great place to learn about XML. It's not always 
easy to determine when SGML-only features are being discussed, and the 
question overlaps can lead to some fairly significant confusion, especially 
for beginners.

>There is no need for a separate group which will weaken the tenuous 
>and often politically difficult to maintain spirit of cooperation
>between international standards groups and consortium product working groups. 

>This is not in the best interests of that alliance.

There is a lot of need for a separate group which will address the needs of 
large numbers of people moving into a new technology.  'Maintaining the spirit 
of cooperation between international standards groups and consortium product 
working groups' is _not_ the purpose of this newsgroups.  Those groups, for 
better or worse, need to learn to work with each other while the rest of get 
on with learning the technologies that are appropriate to the tasks _we_ want 
to accomplish.

I see comp.text.xml as a place for people, both new and experts, to 
communicate about the new things opened up by XML, not as a place for a 
relatively small club of experts to form and maintain alliances.

XML-L is good for this, but newsgroups are easy places for the whole world to 
find and participate.  I strongly hope comp.text.xml arrives soon.

Simon St.Laurent
Dynamic HTML: A Primer / XML: A Primer / Cookies

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