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   Re: XML complexity, namespaces (was WG)

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  • From: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
  • To: "XML Developers' List" <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 14:21:47 -0500 (EST)

Paul Prescod writes:

 > Despite what Chris Lilley says, it *still* takes a text editor to
 > get data into XML and a consultant (or internal expert) to get it
 > out.

Unless, of course, the XML is simply a serialisation of an existing
data structure.

 > Perl+SGML/Omnimark was not cool so people with the expertise were
 > expensive.

People seem to be flocking to Perl+XML and Java+XML quite rapidly, XSL
aside.  The biggest cost of Omnimark was not the purchase price
(although $12K or more per seat [per annum, I think] would give most
programmers reason to pause), but the cost of maintenance.

A lot of people know Perl and Java but almost no one knows Omnimark,
and maintaining a system that relies heavily on scripts written in an
esoteric and virtually-unknown language can be extremely difficult and
painfully expensive, when it's possible at all.

 > One of the hardest things with XML *or* SGML is making usable user
 > interfaces. XML doesn't make it any easier. In fact it retains some the
 > SGML features that can do the most damage to an intuitive user interface
 > (consider internal entities in attributes).

Gotta be pragmatic here -- the editing software can declare that
attributes contain text, period, end of discussion.  On import, the
editor can simply expand the entities and then forget about their
boundaries.  I think that most users can live with that.

 > I'm surprised that you wouldn't allow the programmer who builds the
 > intermediate transformations to also build the intermediate DTDs. I
 > consider the DTDs to be part of the specification for what the program
 > does.

The problem is simply one of matching up skills -- it's hard to find
people who can write transformations (in any language), and it's hard
to find people who can write DTDs; it is painfully difficult to find
people who can do both.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david@megginson.com

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