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   RE: XML and inheritance and transformation of representations

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  • From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>
  • To: Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>, xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2000 09:06:20 -0500

With all due respect to both you and Henry, Paul, 
it's good and worth reading but some of the same 
misconceptions are in this presentation that bedevil 
markup technology in other presentations 
yet have been worked out of other presentations:

1.  XML is NOT about separation of format 
and content.  It enables that just as 
SGML enabled it.  It is a smart thing 
to do, otherwise, *XML doesn't care*.  
Discriminate between good practice 
and required practice.  

2.  SGML is older than 12 years 
and is not more complicated than 
it has to be.  It is more complicated 
than a web developer often needs, 
but as proposals are showing, web 
developers have not always understood 
all of the requirements for their 
projects and are now discovering that 
many of the SGML "complexities" are 
there to meet those undiscovered 
requirements.  Caveat emptor.

3.  As most/all of the XML developers 
were SGML developers, they certainly 
had thought about data traveling over 
the web.  It was already a fact of 
life in many SGML applications, and 
many of the separation of content 
and format concepts had come from projects  
where implemented databases 
served SGML.  See MIL-M-87269, US Navy 
MID, US Army IADS, the SAE work, the work 
on relational/SGML systems, etc.  
Frankly, it was only the HTML Working 
Group and the web zealots that failed 
to understand this initially.  Even 
the ideas behind SOAP and SCL, etc. 
had been proposed years earlier.  These 
required a narrowing into a single systemic 
application to become viable.  To rephrase 
what Eliot Kimber put aptly, the web is mostly 
shared disk storage.  It becomes more 
because of sharable definitions/contracts.

XML succeeded wildly in the same way 
a tidal wave suddenly rears up at a 
shoreline after traveling hundreds 
of miles with barely a ripple on the 
surface.  When the environment finally 
narrowed, the power of concepts that 
had been moving forward for three decades 
created quite a tall and sudden emergence, 
but not a surprising one.  That it is 
sweeping a lot of developments away is 
not unexpected because that is what 
lexical unification is about: simplify the 
framework and reduce complexity.  Yet note 
that for some applications, such as 
X3D, the need to keep two encodings and 
a different object model has been made 
clear.  A little humility might be in 
order before a greater humiliation is 
in process.

Len Bullard
Intergraph Public Safety

Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti.
Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h

From: Paul Prescod [mailto:paul@prescod.net]

"Henry S. Thompson" wrote:
> ...
> [2] http://www.ltg.ed.ac.uk/~ht/LayeredArch/

An excellent summary. Well worth reading.


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