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The typical use of an SGML Declaration was in the
documentation of the application language. That is,
for 28001 or 87269, the declaration was included
as part of the specification and the implementor
of the local SGML processing system used it to
set up that system. Granted, most of that went
straight to the parser and the publishing system
saw nothing of the result except insofar as what
the parser accepted, but a nightmare to manage?
Not in my experience.
We weren't pushing this stuff across an open network.
We were delivering 9-track tapes or we were creating
early WORM discs with both the rendered file (typically
image bitmaps) and the SGML files for archive.
Comparisons of the SGML experience and the XML experience
just aren't that relevant; different media, different
production scenarios, different publishing tools,
and different personnel. SGML experts were exactly
that; no desperate hackers need apply.
From: David Megginson [mailto:email@example.com]
SGML gave limits a bad name because they were so ridiculously low by
default (eight-character names spring to mind), and SGML declarations
were a nightmare to manage in any real-world processing and