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   Re: [xml-dev] SGML queries

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John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com> wrote:
| Arjun Ray scripsit:

|> [Retrofitting SGML onto HTML] was IMHO the single greatest disaster 
|> to afflict the web.  It was a classic example of Sufficient Ingenuity.  
| But cruft it was and remains.

Actually, no.  Something that offends the sensibilities of markup wonks is
not automatically cruft.  Tag soup is merely a different paradigm.  And,
yes, a limited one at that, but tag soup is not inexplicable on its own

It isn't politically correct to say this, but there is no doubt that HTML
*started* as a point-wise command language: the tag was the element.  SGML
figured only as a distant inspiration for the syntax, yet this coincidence
was almost surely the proximate cause of the devastating mistake of trying
to make sense of HTML in SGML terms well after the HTML user community had
become happily accustomed to tag soup.  The rapid popularization of Mosaic
made the persistence with retrofitting only more quixotic.

The tragedy was that a formal spec for tag soup was never written.  That
would have allowed closure, and clarified the need for something better,
without the baggage of a 'foolish consistency'.


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