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

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  • From: James Robertson <jamesr@steptwo.com.au>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 10:25:40 +1000

At 05:05 18/08/1998 , Sean Mc grath wrote:

  | >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.
  | >
  | [David Megginson]
  | >This is progress: it took SGML over a decade to get this complicated.
  | >
  | :=)
  | I share Simon St. Laurents concern that namespaces, schemas etc. are
  | getting rather hairy. I think there is a possibility that the
  | sleek Dolphin that is XML might begin to morph into a Duck Billed
  | Platypus.
  | XML came about in a remarkably short period of time and yet exhibits
  | substantial "beauty" in its simplicity. The reason for this goes deeper
  | than the fact that some great minds designed it -- XML is the result of
  | over a *decade* of experience with SGML. Some good things in SGML were
  | dropped, some good things were retained, but all the while, the decisions
  | were based on rubber-on-the-road *experience*.
  | By contast, namespaces, schemas etc. are very, very new to SGML/XML.
  | There is no decade of directly relevant, collective wisdom on which
  | the great minds designing them can draw.

I apologise in advance for the low information content of
this message. It's just that I've been lurking on this list
for a while now, while keeping busy implementing practical
SGML solutions ... and I think I've reached the "straw that
broke the camel's back".

I think the whole XML/XSL/XML-Data/etc approach is reaching
crisis time --- it's killing itself before it has even
grown from infancy.

I have just read the comments regarding the recently-released
XSL spec, and frankly I am horrified by the use of another
grammar that is not XML!

This comes hard on the heels of the namespace spec, which has
not been well received in a number of areas.

Now I have been in the SGML field for a number of years,
but frankly, I find many of the discussions on this list
esoteric to say the least. I don't have time to read all
of these increasingly-complex specs, and I'm in the

So I ask: what happened to XML being simple?

Or to put it another way: if I have to support namespaces,
XSL, XML-Data (and more) in order to do anything,
I'm going back to SGML --- it's simpler!

For heaven's sake W3C, stop releasing specs.

I vote for withdrawing all the latest specs, and placing
them in a "for discussion" state. We can then get back
to them when we have a year's experience under our belt.

Instead, lets pour all our efforts into releasing XML-aware
software. Make it a standard first before aiming for the
moon ...

Again, apologies for the rant. However, it's a worry when
even propeller-heads in the SGML industry like me feel like
they're falling behind ...



James Robertson
Step Two Designs Pty Ltd
SGML, XML & HTML Consultancy

"Beyond the Idea"
 ACN 081 019 623

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