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Re: Father of XML?

From: "Michael Brennan" <Michael_Brennan@allegis.com>

> I don't see Charles Goldfarb on that list.
> How about instead of trying to pick one of these folks to aggrandize with
> the title of "Father of XML", we give credit to all of these folks for
> bringing us XML. :-)

Without diminishing Jon's organizational and marketing achievement, Charles
is the father of markup languages.  XML is a markup language; so Charles can
certainly call himself the father of XML whenever he chooses as far as I am

Charles invented markup languages, organized the effort into an ISO
standard, and promoted it subsequently.  Jon organized and promoted; I don't
think he invented, except by stacking the deck with people who he thought
would produce the kin of result he was looking for.

The editors didn't "invent" XML; they acted on instructions from the XML
working group. The working group didn't act alone, it followed the consensus
from the larger interest group (which included Goldfarb, by the way: he
wanted XML to be much simpler, getting rid of entities for example) but
provided leadership when there was no consensus.  The interest group
explicitly tried hard not to invent, but merely to tame and cull the
pre-existing SGML spec. And SGML was largely Goldfarb's.

So insisting that Jon should be the sole bearer of the title "the father of
XML" is as silly as calling Tim Bray the "inventor" of XML (which I have
seen too), no disrespect for Tim.

If we look at the parts of XML which are not found in SGML (including TEI,
HTML, ERCS, Mainstream SGML, etc) there is very little actual innovation:
the empty tags (which had been considered but not used in 1986 for SGML)
(and Goldfarb found a workaround using NET so that this didn't require an
extension to SGML, nominally), the XML header and encoding algorithm,
perhaps PI targets, the hex numeric character references. Apart from these
XML is largely consolidation of pre-existing practises and efforts.

Jon Bosak is the father of XML in the way that Walt Disney is the father of
cartoons.  Analogies always fail at some point, and this one is no
different: Jon is the proximate cause of XML, Charles is the ultimate cause.
This child has many fathers.

Rick Jelliffe