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   Re: [xml-dev] terra incognita

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Simon St.Laurent wrote:

> On my way back from XML 2001, I started thinking about the conference
> I'd just seen and how exactly I landed in XML.  Wandering through a
> bunch of different loosely-connected ideas, I started thinking that XML
> and markup in general - including and perhaps especially SGML - simply
> doesn't fit well with a huge amount of what the rest of computing wants
> to believe.

I have been following similar tracks for a while and, as Tim says, I 
wonder if it's not a new indication that we have not (yet?) been able to 
reconciliate data and programs.

I have seen this happen with RDBMS when I was working at Sybase. The 
cases which were hitting the second level support where I was working 
were the most pathological ones, but they were clearly showing the 
mismatch between OO programing and RDBMS with people "cleanly" 
programing objects embedding their SQL requests ending up doing all 
their joins client side with the consequences you can imagine on 

Other applications were victims of design tools hiding the database 
without doing any physical design optimization and a last category 
discovered that the schema resulting of a OO design was almost 
impossible to understand by a mere human and not useable for ad-hoc queries.

I think we are rediscovering these 3 problems (lack of maturity of 
design tools, fundamental mismatch between data and program and the fact 
that "hidden" data structures often need to be "unhidden" and exposed to 
final users with XML).

At the end of the day, I think that this "crisis" might be more profund 
than "post OO" and be a paradigm shift from treatments to data. It's no 
surprise that XML is the technology of choice for archivists: XML is 
(more than SGML which DTD can be considered as "programming 
instructions") the promise of information which can survive the 
technologies used to write it (or to define its schema).

The problem is that this promise is not interesting for all the 
applications of XML and that XML is also used as something hidden in 
applications which just don't care about the posterity of their XML 


Rendez-vous a Paris pour les Electronic Business Days 2002.
Eric van der Vlist       http://xmlfr.org            http://dyomedea.com
http://xsltunit.org      http://4xt.org           http://examplotron.org

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