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   Re: [xml-dev] SML (was Elliotte Rusty Harold on Web Services)

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From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>

> Rick, of course, was an early critic of efforts to subset XML:
> http://www.xml.com/pub/a/1999/12/sml/goldilocks.html

I don't think I have changed my position: I was not against SML as merely an 
"effort to subset XML" but as an antagonistic, premature, dogma-driven exercise 
in reductionism whose end result could only be to get rid of everything, as 
in XML 2.0alpha.  And one that diverted peoples attention from the looming
XML Schemas: a real source of complication.[1]

I think there were five tendencies at work in SML that doomed it despite the talent 
of those involved and their level of concern: a naive view of where the costs of 
parsing lies, reductionism (the failure to value that a limited redundancy or sugar or 
lubrication in a language increases its usefulness),  a related belief that anything that 
can be layered should be layered (ignoring the issue of how a document should declare 
or specify this layering), an Americanist tendency that if what is good for them will 
have to be good enough for everyone else, and the lack of agreed requirements. 
Furthermore, the mental furniture of infoset versus syntax was not available at
that time.

As I finished:

"So I think that if SML has a future, it may be in the area of closed data transport 
and interprocess communication, where it is generated by API, and where human 
reader/writers do not touch it. But that area is the one that binary formats poach 


On Sun, Feb 02, 2003 at 08:10:59AM -0700, Uche Ogbuji wrote:

> I won't dwell on the fact that when the "efficient buffered parser" claim came 
> up here a little while back, the claimants were not able to make a convincing 
> case.

Actually, I think that is a little too strong. I think we only demonstrated there seemed at
least one way to implement it efficiently.  It is fair enough that a programmer would
prefer to do things in a straigthforward incremental way, doing elements first then 
tacking on entity references at the end of a project, given the lowly status of entities 
around the place. This would be a fault of rational but wrong expectations (that the element
tree is the skeleton rather than the flesh) instead of any kind of incompetence. 

Rick Jelliffe

[1] http://www.lists.ic.ac.uk/hypermail-archive/xml-dev/xml-dev-Nov-1999/0365.html


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