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   RE: power uses of XML vs. simple uses of XML

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  • From: "Lynda VanVleet" <lyndavv@earthlink.net>
  • To: <xml-dev@xml.org>, "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 12:35:44 -0700

From: Simon St.Laurent
Sent: Saturday, July 08, 2000 5:25 AM

>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 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.

I often feel like I am the only "simple user" who reads this list and
following this thread hasn't changed that perception much.  I started
learning XML less than a year ago.  I never really knew what SGML was and
only visited the W3C website when discovering it was one of the only places
available when I searched for XML references on the web last August
(AltaVista only returned 50 sites and 25 were the W3C site).  I attended
XTech last February and didn't even know the difference between a committee
and a working group.  I think I understand namespaces but have no use for
them yet except to get my XSLT stylesheets to work.
That said, I am finding new uses for XML in the software I develop all the
time.  Currently our software:
--uses XML as the interface between the adapters and the core
application.  This allows us to talk easily between technologies and to
support the display and persistence of different amounts of data for each
--uses it in several other interfaces where we need to pass large
amounts of structured data between 2 portions of the application we want to
remain as independent as possible..
--we also support the comparison of XML Documents, the testing of HTTP
servers that process XML Documents, and the simulation of HTTP servers that
process XML Documents
We really don't use XML++ yet and I think this is typical of "simple users."
We just became excited over the uses of CDATA and are only starting to see
uses for XSLT though we use the DOM nodes a lot in our programming.

>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 think the disconnect is simply knowledge and time required to change
software development - though extremely fast, still a lag.  Our fondness for
XML continues to grow.  I just spent a week with a customer in The
Netherlands who spent the last year developing an integrated application for
their large company with very little XML.  They see a lot of places where
XML would have been extremely useful now but they had little concept of its
potential a year ago.

Lynda VanVleet

Lynda VanVleet           |  "Before one can
Testing Engineer         |   understand
Class I.Q.               |   recursion, one
lvanvleet@classiq.com    |   must understand
www.classiq.com          |   recursion."
                          V.Orehck III

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