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   Re: [xml-dev] strange feeling

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9/18/2002 1:08:18 PM, "Didier PH Martin" <martind@netfolder.com> wrote:

>Lurking what is said about how to resolve colon notation and the proposed XML framework in general, I 
have the strange feeling that we are re-inventing SGML. Or more precisely an SGML with a static  SGML 
declaration (in fact this is what XML 1.0 is). Is this the “eternal return” phenomena in which people re-
discover what was discovered before? 
>Funny, it all started with the general idea to simplify a too complex SGML. You know, frankly, I am 
starting to find SGML easier than what XML is becomming :-) :-). Maybe it’s a natural tendency in human 
beings to make simple things complex. Humm, who knows ….

Hmmm, think about this in the context of the Architecture Astronauts thread. Both SGML's concrete 
experience, and even the abstract stuff such as Architectural Forms that few SGMLers (at least in my SGML 
experience) understood, anchor XML, for better and for worse.   The areas where XML diverged most sharply 
from SGML experience (such as colonized names and namespace URIs) cause the most confusion.  The areas 
that SGML provided a good prototype (such as DSSSL for XSLT) seem to work the best.  The stuff that was 
eternally controversial (HyTime) never gelled in the XML world (XLink), but has too many good ideas in 
there somewhere to ignore. Even tag minimization, which was supposedly dead and buried, keeps coming back 
from the grave (e.g. "RSS 3.0", WikiML, "SAX" parsers for non-XML formats, etc.).

I'm not saying that the SGML experience supports one side or the other in the Architecture Astronauts 
debate -- there's concrete experience, for sure, but there's also some abstractions that seemed wildly 
impractical (to me anyway) a few years ago that seem more and more useful and concrete (I'm thinking of 
Arch Forms, but &deity; help me, Groves may make sense someday!).

And I'm not by any means suggesting that we admit the error of our ways and study the SGML Bible as the 
source of fundamental truth.  I'm just marvelling at how this damn thing is sortof a strange attractor 
that we keep circling around, but can't escape.  

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