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Not quite. Data models require stronger
and deeper agreements than the syntax.
They typically work for smaller groups.
Syntax agreements are relatively easy
to get. Keep in mind that the most successful
syntax agreement is CSV, not XML. XML
came about because it had been shown
to work in the generation of markup
users that preceded it reasonably well,
and because the web was perceived as a
no lose money maker and folks were in the
mood to deal.
Data models have a place. I don't think
any given model works as well in as many
cases as a syntax agreement does, but they
still work for those who know how to use
them for what they understand and can
communicate well. It is an issue of scale.
But as one who lived in the previous
generation of SGML tools that did not
have any hint of a common data model,
I have to say I don't want to go back
there. The infoset has its uses. I agree
that programmers usually prefer to work
at the level of the API, but things like
hidden namespace values force them to
go back and look at the data model.
From: Tim Bray [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Yes, and I want a car that runs on water and get 100mpg, but it ain't
gonna happen. The reason XML has taken off is that generation after
generation of attempts to interoperate at the datamodel/API level has
either failed or provided poor price/performance. Syntax is a
qualitatively, consistently, dramatically better basis for
interoperation; desires to interoperate at the data model level, no
matter how reasonable, are apt to remain unfulfilled for the foreseable