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   Re: [xml-dev] constructive (was RE: [xml-dev] Markup perspective notcode

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8/3/2002 8:58:44 AM, "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com> wrote:


> It may in fact be time for division into smaller groups where 
>consensus is achievable, but I think we need to find out what those groups 
>are before we can find our way into them.

So far, the only consensus of the smaller groups I've seen is that XML (in
all its monumental complexity) sucks.  Whenever they try to figure out what
to do about it, they immediately fragment into those who want to 
recreate a "W3C" and do it over again, those who want to find a proper subset
of the XML specs and promote them, those who want to fight guerilla wars
without any formal organization or ties to XML, those who want to emigrate
back to SGML, etc. 

Still, as much as I am uncomfortable with the tone of this thread,
Simon's note of a "markup vs programming" cleavage is important, if for no other reason
that Simon has an excellent track record as a Cassandra (not only is he usually
right, he's almost always ignored until the truth that the wooden horse
is full of enemy soldiers bursts forth upon us all).  

Look, for example, [warning, personal rant that would certainly be
disavowed by the W3C and my employer ahead!] 
at one very small example of what the hype has loosed upon us:
"Office Gets in XML Groove."   What would one think from the headline,
maybe that Office would be using documented XML schemas/DTDs that allowed
documents, spreadsheets, etc. to be openly exchanged between applications?
No, I'm afraid it's all about embrace and extinguish, not interoperate
with the competition:

"The move is part of Microsoft's overall effort to leverage XML to make 
Office the de facto front end to any enterprise application, and more 
specifically tightly couple Office with Microsoft offerings such 
as Great Plains and BizTalk.

Designed as an add-on to Microsoft's .Net development environment, 
Groove Toolkit for Visual Studio .Net allows developers to rapidly 
build WinForms- based applications hosted in Groove's Workspace 

What does that have to do with XML as markup?  It's exactly what 
Cassandra, oops, Simon has been yelling about -- *programmers* can use
proprietary APIs that -- deep down out of sight of anyone -- happen to 
use XML as an object serialization technique.  Pardon me if I think
the reference to "XML" in the headline was B.S.

I'm actually glad that XML is proving to be useful for application 
integration, and only wish that it was being used here in an open
rather than essentially proprietary manner.  Still, Simon's point that
this is utterly different from what "markup" was supposed to be
about is worth pondering.  What do the needs of people who are using
XML for RPC-based application integration have to do with the needs
of people who are using it to build vendor/platform/application-neutral

Is it reasonable for one organization to try to balance
those competing needs? I *do* happen to think so, and invest my
time with the W3C in hopes of seeing XML and the Web proved to be
useful for OPEN integration scenarios.  [If Simon is Cassandra,
maybe I'm Pollyanna, but so be it.]  Still, as Rick Jelliffe 
mentioned in his reply in the ISO 8879 thread, the traditional
concerns of markup authors and document publishers are more
central to the ISO mission these days, so maybe that's where they
will be preserved. Simon himself seems to prefer the monastic 
life remote from both, which I'm sure will be good for his
peace of mind.

[Sorry, but I love the parallel with A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ: 
Uncontrolled technology leads to a Flame Deluge, followed by a 
Great Simplification, with the Memorabilia of the markup age 
preserved in the Abbey of St. Laurent in trust for a future
era that can appreciate it ... which will in turn pervert 
that  knowledge, leading to another uncontrolled
technology boom, leading to yet another Flame Deluge ...
Sic transit XML.   <sickly grin>  ]


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