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   Re: The Power of Groves

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  • From: Steve Schafer <pandeng@telepath.com>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 23:09:49 -0600

On Fri, 11 Feb 2000 19:06:42 +0000, you wrote:

>What we also need is a critical mass of people who believe enough to make
>it happen - by writing systems that are abstract enough and generic enough
>and useful enough that they self-replicate. Eliot tried very hard to
>respond to this by writing Phyllis. I believe in Eliot's vision (and his
>co-believers). But until there is a tool which solves a sufficient number
>of my problems quickly, I will probably flounder along by writing ad hoc
>solutions for each problem.

I'm not at all confident that we'll ever reach the point that creating
data abstractions becomes a point-and-click operation that anyone can
do without some experience in the art. There are many real-world
analogies: Anyone can understand how to buy an airline ticket and use
it to get from Seattle to Miami. Understanding how to design and build
the aircraft that implements that flight is another thing entirely. We
all rely on a huge number of domain experts to take care of all of the
complex details for us; I don't see how managing complex data
processing issues is going to be any different. Certainly, we will
continue to see new tools that allow relatively inexperienced people
to perform relatively complex tasks with their computers. But rather
than becoming more and more generic, I expect that those tools will
become more and more specialized. It's the only way to solve the
otherwise intractable problem of putting a fairly simple user
interface on top of the very intricate "engine" that underlies it.

XML Schema and the like will (hopefully) give us the tools to be more
_efficient_, but I don't see any real evidence that they will make the
job substantially _easier_.

-Steve Schafer


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