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3/4/2002 9:45:01 AM, "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <email@example.com> wrote:
>XML: the pine tree of syntax-unified systems.
Uhhh, more cryptic than usual today, Len :~)
"Pine" as in soft, easily workable wood that is marginally suitable for almost anything,
but not really optimal for most high-quality work? Or "pine" as the tree that quickly
colonizes a disturbed area, but is replaced by the hardwoods once it has stabilized the
local ecology a bit?
I'm beginning to believe that something like the latter analogy is taking place. XML is
thriving because it is SOOOOOOO much better than nothing, i.e., integrating all those
disparate applications and formats with code. XML has been a hit with the early adopters,
but now the mainstream is getting into the act, and I'm hearing lots of responses along the
lines of Niels Peter Strandberg's. XML has proved the concept that a standardized, text
based meta-syntax can do the job in principle. That brings in people who have no vested
interest in backwards-compatibility with all sorts of legacy stuff, don't care about the
"way it is done in XML," but need to get the job done going forward. That changes the rules
of the game considerably.
Things are going to get more and more interesting ... and we're sure to hear increasing
calls for "refactorization" of the XML technologies to expose their very real strengths in
ways that are more congenial to the mainstream developers of the world. [Look at the
XInclude/external entity/canonicalization discussion, and ask yourself "if I were a C++
programmer working on my first XML project, would I be screaming in frustration when
confronted with this stuff?"] The only alternative is "don't worry your nerdy little head
about all those pointy brackets, they're hidden behind our IDEs, APIs, wizards, and
adapters." So far, that approach isn't looking good as a basis for real interoperability.