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   Universal Applications, Universal Data

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On Wed, 20 Nov 2002 10:44:50 -0600, Bullard, Claude L (Len) <clbullar@ingr.com> 

> Andrew:
> 1.  Does XHTML 2.0 have a future?  Yes.  For those who believe in and want 
> to pursue development of the Universal Interface Virtual Machine (UIVM) 
> as Paul calls it, a native language for that machine is needed.


> The future of the web browser as UIVM and of XHTML seem to be inextricably 
> linked.   However, alternatives to HTML-centric web systems are now 
> available and growing as the strengths of schema-centric markup are 
> coming to the fore.   This is finally and really SGML On The Web and 
> something of a real change at last, in the way the Internet is used as a 
> markup medium transport.

That's about it.  XDocs is back to the idea of a universal data interchange format 
 for proprietary, heavyweight applications.  That's different from a 
universal platform for interchangeable lightweight applications.  For Len's 
world of preinstalled,
thoroughly tested, and tightly managed applications, I'm sure that XDocs 
over the
internet beats the browser-based web hands down.  That obviously works 
better for
most vendors' business models as well.  Hence the current state of the Web.

But for most of us when we are playing consumer rather
than producer of this stuff, the universal light application platform (or 
UIVM, if you will) hits the 80:20 point very squarely.  Whether that should 
remain based
on HTML or should move to generic XML is an interesting question.  XHTML 
"x" (not sure how much of this is in the 2.0 draft)  hedges that bet by 
out the stuff like XForms that can be used more widely, encourages use of SVG, 
 MathML, etc. for what they do well, but maintains the HTML tag soup.
It's clearly the Right Thing to refactor HTML, but since
no vendor has an incentive to promote it individually, it naturally falls 
upon the W3C to do it.  It will almost certainly fall upon the open source 
community to actually implement it, for the same reasons ... but hey, 
that's where the
web itself came from!  (The values of academia and open source are
about the same -- doing the Right Thing for recognition and the second- 
order financial
benefits that guruhood bestows rather than for short-term profit).


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