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   Is XML getting too hard? (was: Re: More on Namespaces...)

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  • From: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
  • To: "XML Dev" <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 14:39:32 -0400

Simon St.Laurent writes:

 > Still, could somebody slow this stuff down so that XML can have a
 > tiny chance to grow?  We're not even at the first round of browser
 > implementations and already it looks like XML is attempting
 > self-immolation at the shrine of complexity.  The specs are doing
 > too many things in too many places.

This is progress: it took SGML over a decade to get this complicated.

More seriously, if (as -- I think -- Tim Bray has suggested), XML is
the new ASCII, then it is perfectly acceptable for people to
standardise special uses of it.  ASCII is not more complicated because
C++ programs can be written using it, nor does the complexity of the
ANSI C++ spec make ASCII any harder.

What frightens me is the danger that some people might forget about
layering and try to overload the XML core.  XML 1.0 has some warts,
but in general, it's beautifully simple.  I have no objection to
seeing RDF, DCD, Namespaces, etc. built *on top of* XML, but I don't
want to see them built *into* XML -- imagine if every program that
worked with ASCII had to be able to parse C++ as well, or if every IP
router had to know about HTTP!

In other words, don't fight the new standards -- they will live or die
on their own (the market will probably kill about 80 per cent of them
fairly quickly: even the power of Microsoft couldn't save CDF) -- but
stand ready to bar the door if any of them gets too close.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david@megginson.com

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