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   RE: [xml-dev] Xml is _not_ self describing

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I do encounter developers that don't get that. 
We saw it over and over and over again on the 
X3D list.  I see it here at Intergraph as OOPMen 
go looking for OOPies.  Over and over, they 
repeat the mantra: "SHOW ME THE CODE!!!" 

They look for what they expect and they 
expect what they already know.  XML is Not Self
Describing.   So we describe it, they whine a bit, 
but if we give them code to copy, they move on.

HTML led them to believe one could type it in,
open the browser, and magic would happen.  XML 
makes them aware of the man behind the curtains.

I think the issue is: if we stop selling like 
Bart, they can stop feeling like Homer. 


From: Leigh Dodds [mailto:ldodds@ingenta.com]

> From: Bullard, Claude L (Len) [mailto:clbullar@ingr.com]

> I can't wait to see the XML.COM condensed 
> version of this thread. :-)

And me, because hopefully then I can read it and 
understand what the real issue is.



Seriously though, I gave a talk recently, introducing Markup 
and XML to some Medical Informatics students. I outlined the 
overheads of writing custom parsers for custom formats; 
suggested that providing additional rules to structure 
data formats could improve the situation; then explained 
why CSV is fragile and limited; and then introduced 
labelled formats as the best solution.

I also made it clear that introducing grammatical rules 
such as labelling doesn't necessarily say anything about 
the meaning of the data following those rules 
(cf: Edward Lear). That's for a higher layer.

They seemed to accept the benefits of this, and 
understood where the limitations were. 

So aside from the philosophy (interesting as it is) it seems to me 
there's a fairly simple message to get across. Is there any real 
evidence that there's been a failure to communicate it, beyond 
the existing marketing-technology disconnects?

Personally I'm not sure I've seen it. Most developers I've worked 
with just approach XML as syntax, and don't expect a whole 
lot more.


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