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You are almost right, Tim.
HTML was "bad" in that it created a growing
problem of support and extensibility. IOW,
it was easy to apply messily and that meant
the tag stacker implementor had to support
what amounted to tag soup. XML came along
to provide a means to create new markup
applications but also was touted as a
means to clean up that mess.
Success depends on perspective. If all
one cares about is getting users started and don't mind
creating a wildfire of maintenance issues,
that's one approach. Success here was
colonization. Try that in your swimming
pool and learn to love the smell of chlorine.
The other approach is to simplify as you
suggest, but keep in mind that different
eyeballs will have different needs, so
that 80/20 point may require more coordinates
to locate in real space.
First rule of backfires: don't start the fire
until you check the water supply and the precise
current position of your teams.
From: Tim Bray [mailto:email@example.com]
???? HTML was by no means "bad". It was exactly what the world needed,
and millions of people started using it because they liked it and
because they could do "view source" and figure it out. My gripe with
RDF/XML is precisely that it's failing to learn this lesson from HTML's
success. Thus not enough people are using it, even though it's arguably
what they need.