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- From: David Megginson <email@example.com>
- To: "'XML Dev'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: 22 Nov 1999 08:45:53 -0500
"Don Park" <email@example.com> writes:
> Maybe we live in different worlds. Based on experience,
> companies starting to adopt XML typically hire XML consultants
> to design their systems. Most of them are not confident that
> they know all the details of XML and thus are compelled to use
> outside help.
God! If I were paid to help people figure out XML syntax, I would be
way, way, way, WAY overpaid. What companies hire consultants for is
to help them understand how to exchange and process information: 90%
of the complexity comes from the nature of the information they're
trying to model and the business environment in which they work, 9.9%
of the complexity comes from finding, learning, and integrating the
software components, and perhaps the remaining 0.1% has something to
do with the syntax of the markup layer (but probably not).
If we switched to LaTeX, or S-expressions, or structured RTF, the only
difference would be in the availability of off-the-shelf software
components and training materials. The hard part is figuring out how
to manage the open exchange of news, music data, maintenance
information, magazine archives, or what-have-you, not learning where
to stick the angle brackets.
I have billed many thousands of hours on XML projects to large and
small companies, and I have never once sat down and taught XML syntax,
nor can I remember if I have ever (in an XML project) said or heard
the phrases "DOCTYPE", "XML comment", "processing instruction",
"notation", or "unparsed entity".
I fully expect the techs with my customers to (a) learn basic XML
syntax on their own by spending a couple of hours with a tutorial or
(b) simply ignore it and trust the libraries, depending on their
needs. If they're totally lost, I give the the URL of Robin Cover's
XML Web Page  and tell them to get back in touch in a day or two.
> Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to see people start using
> comments for some new standard. Removing the comment feature
> will force the people to treat comment as first-class information.
With luck, the Infoset will help avoid this problem by specifying that
comments are not a required part of the Infoset.
All the best, and good luck with SML,
David Megginson firstname.lastname@example.org
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