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   Re: Feeler for SML (Simple Markup Language)

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  • From: "Michael Champion" <Mike.Champion@softwareag-usa.com>
  • To: <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 16:56:05 -0500

----- Original Message -----
From: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
To: <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 1999 12:31 PM
Subject: Re: Feeler for SML (Simple Markup Language)

> It's too late -- since XML has already succeeded in gaining wide
> implementation as it is, it would be like buying insurance for the
> previous year.

Perhaps, but just as XML inself sprang from a concern that the SGML standard
was far too complex for Web applications, I'm seeing increased concern that
the XML standards are getting too complex, and the standards processes too
slow moving,  to really meet the needs of e-business. See, for example the
"Less is More in E-Business" articles and discussions on xml.com this week.

"The W3C is currently reviewing a complex family of draft documents from XML
technology working groups ... [with] the goal to add greater functionality
to the base XML language for document generation and processing.

While these new functions will no doubt have value in the publishing world
Opportunities for XML are limited by the mechanics of the syntax and the
methods and techniques they either enable or mandate. Traditional EDI
technology was hamstrung in the past by arcane syntax that only experts
could fathom. Much of the success of HTML, on the other hand, has come from
the broad accessibility of that technology. Even lay people with little
computer knowledge can create Web content. To gain and ensure broad use of
XML, general users must get results as easily and consistently as they do
with HTML."

> Even if the separate dialect is a pure subset, it will still split the
> XML market for no good reason

I guess the reason why I'm intrigued by Don Park's proposal is that it seems
to me (especially having made a career move from a text/publishing XML
vendor to an enterprise commerce XML vendor)  like there *is* a good reason
for considering whether the set of XML features needed by e-business
applications is massively smaller than the set needed by text
authoring/publishing/browsing applications.

> That said, it's certainly useful to define APIs that hide some of that
> stuff -- applications should not have to worry about unparsed
> entities, notations, etc. unless they want to

Right.  Maybe the "SML" idea would meet less resistance if it referred to
XML processing tools and APIs that quietly ignored some well-defined set of
legal XML constructs (attributes, comments, PIs, notations, entities, or
whatever) in well-formed XML documents rather than defining a subset of XML
itself in which these are illegal. I think that's well within the spirit of
both Don's posting and the "less is more" perspective in the xml.com
articles mentioned above.

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