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   Re: "XML is a subset of SGML" - True or False?

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  • From: "Ralph Ferris" <ref1@prodigy.net>
  • To: <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000 13:35:23 -0700

>--- In xml-dev@egroups.com, Rick JELLIFFE <ricko@g...> wrote:

>Where there were differences,  ISO8879 was corrected specifically to
>make sure that XML was indeed a subset. In fact, Charles Goldfarb
>even said at one stage "XML *is* the revision of SGML" (debate on the
>revision of ISO 8879 had started years before: XML was the embodyment of

This message, while technically accurate, also contains a large element of
the disingenuous. It almost makes it sound as if Charles Goldfarb was the
initiator of the work on XML, as the logical next step in the evolution of
SGML. It falls along the same lines as the "HTML is an application of SGML,
so ISO should take credit for inventing the Web" logic that I've also heard.

The reality is, the 10-year revision of SGML was proceeding at a glacial
pace, when Jon Bosak perceived the need for a "global warming" to save SGML
from being permanently marginalized. And at a time when Netscape was riding
high with no interest in HTML as an "SGML application", that's exactly where
it was headed.

>In fact, XML is explicitly part of ISO 8879, through non-normative
>Annex L: XML is used as an example of an "additional requirements"
>document--it cannot be normative because the ISO WG thought that W3C was
>an appropriate body to create and maintain an industry-lead profile of
>an ISO standard.

Again, this makes it sound as if ISO, in it's infinite wisdom, graciously
decided that the XML work should go forward within the W3C. The reality is,
the work had to be done within W3C, because the HTML Web-heads of circa 1996
weren't the least bit interested in listening to ISO. Even more to the
point, W3C became the forum because that's where Microsoft agreed to work.
Had Microsoft wanted to work within ISO, packing the meetings with their
engineers, they could have done so. They chose not to. Whatever their
reasons, it's unlikely it was because they couldn't afford the travel fees.


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