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   Re: [xml-dev] What is XML For?

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Alaric B. Snell wrote:

> Because XML has a fragile data model, designed for publishing stuff to a 
> browser rather than transfer between applications? 

XML is based on SGML which was invented long before browsers as we know 

> ... In HTML you just ignored 
> unknown tags, which was fine because the text inside would still be rendered 
> just maybe without the desired styling. With XML they made everything more 
> fragile, it had to conform to a DTD, but your document supplier could 
> suddenly start supplying documents with a different DTD and as long as they 
> XSLT pointed at by <?xml-stylesheet?> was also changed to work with the new 
> DTD it'd still work OK. It's aimed more at displaying data to people than for 
> interchange of information between bits of software... I'm still trying to 
> find out where the 'XML data' idea first arose.

It arises naturally from the observation that structured data (tuple 
structured, hieararchically structured, graph structured, recursive) is 
a subset of the kinds of data you will find in the documents XML was 
designed to handle. A telephone book is tuple-structured. An airplane 
manual is mostly hierarchically structured but with frequent escapes to 
graph structure. There is no boundary between data and documents but of 
course there may be a point on the spectrum where XML produces small 
benefit (e.g. if CSV is all you need). At that point you might use XML 
merely to leverage the existence of XML-aware tools. If you don't need 
them then you probably don't need XML.

  Paul Prescod


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