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   Re: It's time for practical XML!

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  • From: len bullard <cbullard@hiwaay.net>
  • To: Ron Bourret <rbourret@dvs1.informatik.tu-darmstadt.de>
  • Date: Tue, 06 Oct 1998 21:03:05 -0500

Ron Bourret wrote:
> Overlapping proposals are an unfortunate reality of working out "standards".  It
> is easy to think of XML, XLink, namespaces, etc. as having been handed down from
> on high, but I have no doubts that the process was just as messy as what you see
> now in the schema arena -- witness the overhauls of namespaces and XSL, for
> example.  The only difference is whose efforts are overlapping and how public
> the process is.

There are some differences.  First, XML wasn't handed down from on high
as you 
note.  It is the culmination of almost two decades of effort on SGML and
HyTime just as XSL is informed by DSSSL.  XML inherits much.

Some very dedicated people have invested a good portion of their 
professional careers in markup technologies.  The successes of SGML in 
making it possible to create and maintain very large document
informed the fairly short transition into XML.  These efforts were
by professional standards organizations that operated according to
informed by decades of experience in creating international standards. 

Overlapping efforts are a fact of life, but under the processes of say,
these are curtailed to the degree possible by the charters of the
working groups. 

So, no the processes are not usually as messy.  But the messiness here
is due 
in part to the use of the Internet and mail lists.  IMHO, this also has
more people better access to the standards making process.  Because of
the speed with which a standard can emerge and vanish has increased. 
This is a 
somewhat new game.  The players are learning how and the processes are

Probably the most challenging area for XML is the role it plays as a
meta language 
among application languages which do not share its foundation in a
specification.  The discussion of property sets which emerged from the
many years 
of trying to meet the issues in SGML should be considered because all of
Internet languages whose applications must interoperate are affected. 
indeed, markup in general cannot solve the problems of interoperation
nor can 
virtual machine based programming languages.

Len Bullard

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