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I'm surprised that you consider XML to be "an ugly foundation for building
information interchange systems". Going back to Bosak's original vision of
"SGML on the Web", the key to XML's success is that a lot of information
interchange problems combine the attributes of document and data. This is
true of everything from flight availability data to business documents like
All of these things benefit from text-based markup: you can view and
understand the raw data, transform itwith a stylesheet, format it for
viewing using HTML (very common use case), manipulate with Perl, awk, grep
and other text processing languages, etc. At the same time, these things
benefit from semantic information as well. I don't see the contradiction.
The types native to W3C XML Schema are overblown, I agree. But the types in
XML are a little goofy as well, to say the least. When was the last time you
used NMTOKENS? My point is that the notion of letting the user *choose*
between well-formed and valid is one of the key aspects that has made XML so
successful, and it should be retained in both directions (i.e. for those of
us who partake in schema and those who don't). At the same time, DTDs are
definitely inappropriate for B2B e-commerce and other XML "killer apps", and
creating an alternative that uses XML syntax and has a more logical set of
basic datatypes (like the one I proposed) makes a ton of sense.
The exciting thing about XML to me and a lot of people is that we are
abstracting interfaces away from fragile APIs to the level of business
document formats that everyone company understands (orders, invoices, ASNs,
etc.). These look beautiful when marked up using text, and they are also
strongly typed. You'd have to get a lot more concrete to convince me that
text-based markup+schema is not the most elegant way to represent them!
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Simon St.Laurent [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Thursday, May 09, 2002 7:07 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: RE: [xml-dev] PSVI formalization
> On Thu, 2002-05-09 at 12:35, Matthew Gertner wrote:
> > Cool, I was about to respond to your other post, but this is a much
> > clearer formulation of the issue. Your initial premise is exactly
> > right: what gets developers excited about XML is the prospect of
> > schema-enabling it. Certainly that's true for me (your humble PSVI
> > poster boy), and you're also right that I don't like CDATA,
> > and the like.
> > I think where you are missing the boat is the assertion
> that somehow
> > there could be some alternative representation of the PSVI that
> > wouldn't be XML but would satisfy all the gearheads out
> there. Frankly
> > this is a crazy idea. It took decades for something like XML to
> > appear, and it's a huge boon. We are developing software right now
> > that uses XML along with schema (having created our own
> version of the
> > PSVI two years ago), and we also use XML parsers, XML
> editors, XPath,
> > XSLT and a whole slew of other XML technologies and tools. Why on
> > earth would we reinvent the wheel when XML works for us!? Just to
> > preserve the "purity" of the language for the benefit of
> some markup
> > Luddites?
> I think I was arguing something much stronger, actually. I
> was arguing
> that XML may in fact be _bad_ for PSVI-style information exchange. The
> lack of a popular XML format for representing the PSVI is just one
> Sure, XML has the tools, but the tools don't require an XML
> representation of information beyond the parser. XML 1.0 is a pretty
> ugly foundation for building information interchange systems,
> though it
> certainly broke through a logjam.
> I asking whether the "next phase of XML" really needs to be bound to
> XML, or whether XML's lexical baggage is just holding the PSVI work
> back. "Something like XML" is a good idea for information
> I'm not sure that text-based markup is really what programmers are
> looking for.
> I'll let most of the rest of your post go, since I don't think my own
> motivations for suggesting this have much to do with whether
> it's useful
> or not.
> > Maybe you are being purposely provocative (I can relate,
> lord knows),
> > but the idea that XML+schema is somehow no longer in the
> spirit of XML
> > is absurd.
> I don't think it's such a hard case to make. The types native to XML
> 1.0 are element types and a few bits for attributes. That's a very
> different set of stuff from the types native to W3C XML Schema.
> Simon St.Laurent
> Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
> Errors, errors, all fall down!
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