OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help



   power uses of XML vs. simple uses of XML

[ Lists Home | Date Index | Thread Index ]
  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • To: XML-Dev Mailing list <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Sat, 08 Jul 2000 08:24:31 -0400

While this list tends to be oriented toward power users of XML and
'language-lawyer' knowledge levels, I'm finding in my travels (mostly
conferences) that there are a lot of people out there who see XML as a
convenient way for them to define their own formats, and that's about it.

When I go to XTech or the Montreal Developer Conferences, the audiences are
aware of and use DTDs and Namespaces on a regular basis.  They may even
have heard of or use RDF, and many of them can create XSLT stylesheets from

When I go to conferences for software developers or XML forums that aren't
aimed at the core of people I know mostly from this list, most people (in
my XML-oriented sessions, anyway) still know how to create XML documents,
and they likely use XML in their projects.  They don't tend to use DTDs,
however, and I get a lot of questions about when and if to use namespaces.
Developers using XML to connect multiple organizations generally are more
inclined to use both of those tools, but there's a lot of ad hoc XML even
in those cases.

Sometimes I feel like I'm switching worlds when I move between this list
and its surrounding community, and the larger world of software development
- the values are very different.  In some ways, it's easier to explain the
value of DTDs and namespaces to developers who've never used XML before
than to developers who are using XML in their own way on their own project.

There's always been a disconnect between the 'XML core', with its
inheritance of SGML best practices, its close attention to new work at the
W3C, and the larger body of developers learning XML and applying it in
their own work without any special fondness for XML per se.  I wonder,
though, if that disconnect will grow as we pile more and more ideas on top
of what was already a fairly complicated specification.

I've spent the last few years writing for and teaching folks outside of the
core community, and I'm starting to wonder if maybe it's time for the core
to slow down, take a look around, and figure out why more people aren't
using all the tools - even the stable ones - we're providing.  

I occasionally hear claims that "they just don't understand", but I think
there's something a lot deeper than that going on.  What exactly, I'm not
sure, but I suspect that practice will differ from best practice will
differ from specification in a lot of unexpected ways over the next few
years, and likely because of this disconnect.

[end Saturday AM yammering]

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
http://www.simonstl.com - XML essays and books

This is xml-dev, the mailing list for XML developers.
To unsubscribe, mailto:majordomo@xml.org&BODY=unsubscribe%20xml-dev
List archives are available at http://xml.org/archives/xml-dev/


News | XML in Industry | Calendar | XML Registry
Marketplace | Resources | MyXML.org | Sponsors | Privacy Statement

Copyright 2001 XML.org. This site is hosted by OASIS