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RE: different communities ; part I

On Wednesday, February 07, 2001 4:10 PM  Simon St.Laurent wrote :
>After spending ten days on a cruise ship presenting and discussing XML, I'm
>starting to have some serious doubts about what XML brings to developers in
>various communities.

That doesn't sound like sea-sickness to me, sounds more like a culture-shock
... just wondering if XML is the problem.

[ snip ]
>There are plenty of cases where I sincerely doubt there is 'one true way'
>for document, data, and Web folk - these different fields have different
>technical requirements for information handling, some of which overlap in
>odd ways.  

I think this is not a bug, it's a feature.

>Markup itself, Ted Nelson's doubts aside, has proven to be remarkably
>powerful and useful stuff.  

Nelson's 'everything is deeply intertwined' is based on a notion of
If all would be chaos, there would be nothing to link to. Did he mention the
release date of Xanadu? Golden vaporware (Byte magazine), indeed.
Interesting stuff nevertheless. Nelson needs us.

>Separating content from presentation makes an enormous amount of sense if
>you're publishing content to multiple media targets or designing relational
>database tables,  but very little sense if you're creating user interfaces
>which need to contain some logic in the markup used to define them - DHTML,
>XUL, etc.  

Have a look at modal dialog boxes and windows on OSs like MacOS 9 and OS-X
(with Aqua), Solaris, Linux (with Eazel), and MS-Windows. Look and feel
maybe different, very similar data underneath. OK? Cancel? Apply?  

If you f.i. look at the data resources in Mac OS-X you will see that icons
and (localized) strings are packaged in XML. If you look at cross-platform
UI toolkits like wxWindows you will find that they do similar things. Indeed
reuse is useful, XML is a great data-wrapper.

For UI type of stuff, if you follow the XForms/SVG discussion that
technology may be part of the answer. If you look at UIML they are pretty
closely interfaced with Java/Swing which makes a lot of sense to me.

>(I find it ironic that the Web community could probably benefit
>most from processing instructions, but the World Wide Web Consortium openly
>discourages their use.)

Given our current state of the art in parser-technology I think it is wise
to separate data and instructions for now. The full monty on that is 15-40
years away. When XL-ML and XXL-ML come along - my daily pray's go to XS-ML -
parser technology may have caught up. 
Incidently one of the more interesting computer languages in that respect is
What is magic about those two characters anyway? More M&Ms in Tupperware
please. As Yuri Rubinski said in '93: SGML will be the invisible
infrastructural layer underneath. To be succesful we need to become more
Mr. Data are you there? Engage.

More after the break in part 2, here's a preview:
Some objects maybe exposed to strongly typed language early in life, other
objects meet this fate only at the end of their life in the printroom of a