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RE: APIs, messaging

On 23 May 2001 22:45:46 +0100, Al Snell wrote:
> Everything depends upon standards. I am hearing people say that you don't
> need standards with XML because if something not matching what your
> software expects comes along, a human can figure it out. Great. We still
> need mutually agreed standards, or we can't communicate. Full stop... XML
> doesn't change a thing!

XML doesn't change a thing, but we're not nearly at "mutually agreed
standards, or we can't communicate.  Full stop..."

XML offers computing the opportunity to behave much more like the "real
world", where communications is inexact and messy and the
standardization costs are only borne if there's a real benefit to
standardization.  (ISO standardizes shipping container construction, not
which contents are appropriate to containers.)

Computers have long seen much greater benefits to standardization than
the real world for very simple reasons: computing logic (and creating
that logic) has cost a lot of money and time, and computers aren't
naturally good at comparisons beyond if/then.

We're finally reaching the point where computer processing is cheap
enough to open other options. I don't see good reasons beyond tradition
to keep ourselves chained to the information rules that have constrained
software development so far when there's a reasonable chance at making
more flexible structures work.

XML standardizes a syntax for labelled nested structures holding textual
content.  For a lot of us, that's all the standardization that is
presently appropriate.  I'd like to have a chance to work on that level
before we start declaring that piles more standards are necessary to get
real work done.