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   RE: It is Pretty Dumb (Was RE: Not so stupid (was re: More StupidXMLArti

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  • From: Matthew Gertner <matthew@praxisxml.com>
  • To: "'Simon St.Laurent'" <simonstl@simonstl.com>,XML-Dev Mailing list <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2000 12:07:09 +0200

> >I'll gladly entertain notions that XML isn't perfect, but I 
> won't do so
> >on the basis of an obivously erroneous (not just 
> controversial) article.
> That still doesn't explain why XML-Dev is freaking out.

Probably because we're afraid that he's right. If we were serene in our
certainty that XML is going to live up to the hype, we could just laugh this
off and get back to work. But, as always, the more you talk something up,
the greater the pressure to make it work and (perhaps more significantly)
the greater the terror of it not making it. What would happen if after all
this work XML just became a useful technology for reusing syntactical
parsers (or something equally non-earthshaking)?

And, as many people have pointed out, it's hard to fault someone like Dvorak
for feeling like the XML scene is a mess. How many of the numerous XML
experts on this list are really keeping up with the standards and can make
intelligent statements about more than a couple of them?

But I still think that Dvorak is dead wrong, for two reasons:
1) Since when is the current web the be-all and end-all of user-facing
Internet technology? And especially, since when is HTML the be-all and
end-all of presentational markup? The amazing thing about HTML is how
something so bad could be so successful, right? Sure, HTML makes it simple
to do simple things. And this has got us the broad adoption we see today.
But it's soooo hard to do hard things with HTML. This is why we need to move
forward, and why XML is important. I don't think the portrayal of XML as a
"new HTML" is just clever hype from the W3C. It's the real deal. In this
respect, Dvorak's article is about as antivisionary as they come. Wait a
couple of years and you'll see what I mean.
2) XML is in its infancy. Is anyone claiming that this is mature technology?
The original language spec only came out a couple of years ago, and even
back then we knew that we needed linking, schemas, queries and all that
other baggage to make the vision work. It's easy to point to a
work-in-progress and complain that it is a righteous mess (Lord knows, I do
it myself, occasionally), but it isn't entirely fair. I see some danger in
XML-land, but the dominant optimist in me likes to think that, when the dust
settles, we'll have a much smaller and more coherent set of standards and a
correspondingly higher signal-to-noise ratio. Without the distraction of ten
proposed standards for every one that it actually going to make it, we can
then get down to work, including explaining to geek-baiting journalists what
it all means.



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