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   Re: RFD: comp.text.xml

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  • From: len bullard <cbullard@hiwaay.net>
  • To: "Simon St.Laurent" <SimonStL@classic.msn.com>
  • Date: Sun, 03 May 1998 10:56:01 -0500

Simon St.Laurent wrote:
> XML is more than a subset of SGML.  It has its own limitations, its own
> practices, and its own audience.  

So far, it has a new name.

>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.

As I said, so far, a new name.  This is not splitting hairs.  It is 
maintaining a correct and accurate history.
> 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.

It isn't limited.  There is no normative reference and it is a product
the W3C Consortium whose rules and processes govern its growth.  At any 
time the Director chooses, he can cast away that parentage and the
with ISO.

> >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.

Nice.  Take the ideas, abuse the parent in public, claim to have created
new technology.

o  HTML acknowledges it is an SGML application
o  XML acknowledges it is an SGML subset.
o  Both database and OOP programmers have in the past 
   worked with SGML and developed applications of 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.

Bias is bias but that is a different issue.  Those who learn XML do not 
need to learn SGML.  That has been a clear goal of the development of 
SGML On The Web.   So?
> >At this time, the comp-text-sgml newsgroup can support the discussion
> >of SGML subsets such as the W3C consortium subset, XML and its
> >applications.
> 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.

This is speculative but so far, the one issue that can be taken

> 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.

It is that spirit of cooperation which has enabled the standard (SGML)
the consortium-owned product (XML) to remain aligned.  If you want to
SGML ideas (rename them if you must) and keep this alignment, maintain
spririt.  It is in your own best interest.  As for the royal "we", that
be dismissed.  Technologies and standards are separate entities.

> 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.

That relatively small club created everything that you 
are now claiming is a new language.  You are being somewhat less than
in that comment.
> 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.

The creation of comp.text.xml is inevitable.  The reasons given should
truthful, legitimate, and compelling, not based on the politics of 
claiming the work of others.  If you plan to be a successful author, 
do your homework and keep to the facts.


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