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   Re: Another Question

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  • From: AndrewWatt2000@aol.com
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 03:14:33 EDT

Andrew Gorman wrote:
> I'm quite new to the world of XML, and am doing research to learn more about
>  the language.  It seems to me that XML can be adapted to whatever usage
>  required, and it seems that it is renamed each time, or better put, a 
>  is added.  If it is specifically used for advertising, it is called adxml,
>  commerce is cxml.  Is this a common thing? And does this make it difficult
>  to be viewed by other people? or is it that regardless of the prefix, the
>  language doesn't change, and it is just its intended use that marks the
>  difference.


The first point is that XML is not really a "language" at all. It is a 
meta-language, a "language" for defining other languages.

So, in a sense, to call XML the "eXtensible Markup Language" is misleading, 
since in virtually all other settings a "language" has a defined (although 
frequently evolving) vocabulary. I think there would have been great benefits 
if W3C had called "XML" the "eXtensible Markup Meta Language" (XMML) since 
that would have more accurately reflected its true nature, IMHO.

The other languages, in vertical markets, would then reasonably have been 
called languages conforming to the XMML standard.

Of course, in a sense, XML is not really "extensible" either. :) ... Except 
as defined by W3C committees the XML standard is fixed. Other groups can 
create languages or vocabularies conforming to the XML standard (loosely 
often termed as "in XML").

But confusing naming of entities is nothing new in computing. Think of the 
notion of a "tree" with a "root" at the top and "leaf" nodes further down. 
Where did these computer scientists study biology? :)

You asked also about issues of display. In a sense it is that issue which is 
being raised in the thread entitled "Why I dislike CSS". In these many 
specialty languages the structure of the language does not (or should not) 
change - it is still conformant (or should be) to the XML 1.0 W3C 
Recommendation. They should all be capable of display equally well.

The problem raised by Amy Lewis about display is that CSS is not 
XML-conformant and that the proposed XSL:FO standard is overly complex. With 
some justification she suggests there is a need for a simpler display 
technology which is XML-conformant.

You might wish to follow that discussion too.

Andrew Watt

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