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   Re: The failure to communicate XML - and its costs to e-business

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  • From: Rick JELLIFFE <ricko@geotempo.com>
  • To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2000 22:58:05 +0800

> Jonathan.Robie@SoftwareAG-USA.com wrote:
> On 10/5/00, AndrewWatt2000 wrote:
> > XML is not, for the vast majority of humankind, a "simple"
> > format although it may be for some.
> XML is not simple for most people to type by hand, but that's not what
> it was designed for. It is very easy to create XML with programs, and
> it is much easier to parse XML files than to parse proprietary data
> formats.
I would like to propose that the maintainers of this list should filter
out all posts containing the word "simple".  That word is invariably
used for making impossible generalizations and comparing apples with
oranges.  When you hear that word, take out your compact and powder your
nose or play with the office cat.

SGML is much simpler than XML. I can have an SGML entity with no
explicit markup at all, and use tag minimization, short-refs and so on
so that the parser inplies the tags. That is simpler for writers: more
WYSIWYG.  HTML is simpler than XML for this reason.

XML is much simpler than SGML. The XML spec is shorter.

HTML is much simpler than XML. You don't need extra conventions and
stylesheets to actually do anything.

XML is much simpler than HTML. Dave Ragget's tidy still has not managed
to capture all the syntactic permutations in various HTML systems, but
there are many pretty complient XML parsers.

Etc etc.  You know that Woody Allen movie where his parents always had
futile arguments "OK, the Atlantic is a greater ocean than the Pacific":
that is what talking about simplicity is like. 

We can only talk about simplicity as a virtue after stating when and for
whom or for what purpose, IMHO.  A lot of it comes down to disagreements
about layering and options which can only be evaluated in some kind of
context, e.g. your use-cases.

Rick Jelliffe


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