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   Re: Anti-Ranti

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  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • To: Rick JELLIFFE <ricko@allette.com.au>, xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 09:53:40 -0500

While I agree with many of Rick's concerns regarding the diversity or lack
thereof of the XML community, I find his descriptions of SML and SML-Dev
both inaccurate and oddly biased against one particular kind of diversity
in the XML community.  I'll address a few of his points below.

>But strong feelings by some does not constitute a groundswell. Look at
>SML-DEV--everyone is bending over backwards to give them time to talk at
>conferences, but it is only a handful of excited people: look at SML-DEV
>and you see maybe 6 names do 95% of posts.

'Everyone is bending over backwards to give them time to talk at
conferences'?  We submitted an abstract to XTech like everyone else (and on
time at that) and received 30 minutes on the podium.  We were immediately
followed by a polite critique of our work - not exactly Crossfire, but not
exactly a ringing endorsement of the work.  I do, however, thank David
Megginson, Tim Bray, and Jon Bosak for having us, and Jon especially for
bringing up some surprising (and fascinating) historical points about XML.

Most of my upcoming presentations at conferences are on Schemas, XLink, and
XML integration issues.  While I have gotten one solicitation regarding a
further presentation, I think it was mostly because we were on the mailing
list of 'XTech speakers'.

As for the size of the SML community, it's small but growing.  It's
definitely more than six people, and we certainly hope it grows as we start
producing more tangible results.

>The issue is whether competition and plurality and diversity is good or
>bad. Look at a lot of the rhetoric about SML--it is not just that XML
>has been made with certain tradeoffs, they say that XML is positively
>wrong-headed for not having been constructed on minimalist principles.
>Look at the discussion on "why do we need XSL when CSS or Java is good
>enough?", and before that to "XML Schemas should replace DTDs" and
>before that to "XML will kill SGML". In all cases, there is a certain
>mindset or personality involved which says not "let the market decide"
>but "plurality is bad".

I'd suggest that you take a look at the slides we presented at XTech:

I don't think you'll find such rhetoric there, though it might be possible
to superimpose it.  I think the XTech attendees can confirm that we didn't
make any radical calls beyond the slides from the podium.  

You'll find a higher value placed on simplicity than you might like, but I
see no arguments whatsoever that SML is out to kill XML.  In fact, I find
far fewer folks supporting that cause than I used to see supporting XML as
an SGML-killer.

XTech was interesting, mostly because I didn't feel the kind of hostility
toward SML I expected from certain rhetoric on this list.  There seems to
be widening understanding that such a thing might be useful, in certain
contexts, and that looking more closely at XML 1.0 is a worthwhile project.

>The way to support democratization is to allow encourage plural
>development of stadards. There is no reason why, for any problem, there
>is one best solution. Certainly there is little reason to have
>confidence that we can know it beforehand. Let a thousand flowers
>blossom, and a hundred schools of thought contend.  

Here I think we may finally have room for agreement.  Let SGML bloom!  Let
XML bloom!  Let SML bloom!  All of these can live together in peace.

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
Cookies / Sharing Bandwidth

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  • References:
    • W3C Rant
      • From: "Matthew Gertner" <matthew@praxis.cz>
    • Anti-Ranti
      • From: Rick JELLIFFE <ricko@allette.com.au>


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