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   Re: [xml-dev] Tim Bray on "Which Technologies Matter?"

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Paul Prescod wrote:

> In either case you need to use a business rule to ensure that the data
> conforms to some *particular* DTD as opposed to being:
> <!DOCTYPE html [
> <!ELEMENT html (bar)> <!-- I'm in total control now! -->
> ]><foo/>

True, but once you have established the correctness of the doctype declaration, with SGML
data you may expect that it has been validated and conforms to the DTD.

> Nit: that's not the case for today's SGML standard but I'll agree that
> that's common in SGML tools.

Oops, yes, I forgot about that. I haven't spent a lot of time looking at the new fangled
SGML spec...

> > SGML wouldn't be a thriving growing technology even if XML had never come > along.
> It's not the sort of technology that was ever going to aquire mass
> > acceptance.
> I think that's exactly Tim's point. He could have phrased it more
> charitably.

Without wishing to be another in a long line of those who would second guess what Tim
thinks, I believe that he mistook size for significance. The fact that SGML was focussed
tightly meant that it did what it did reasonably well. (Many of us thought that FOSI was
an attempt expand SGML beyond what made sense.)

Under those circumstances, SGML was never going to have the market share that XML does.
But then again, the diversity of uses that XML is put to almost certainly  contributes to
the overall complexity. Is it really a good thing that we need a spec for the processing
model? Perhaps that will eventually be the best reason to use SGML - most of its fiddly
bits have been neatly tucked in. How ironic...


Marcus Carr                      email:  mcarr@allette.com.au
Allette Systems (Australia)      www:    http://www.allette.com.au
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
       - Einstein


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