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   RE: [xml-dev] Life as an SGML Neanderthal (WAS RE: [xml-dev] The subsett

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From: Gavin Thomas Nicol [mailto:gtn@rbii.com]

On Wednesday 05 March 2003 01:20 pm, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
>> There was no "standard" for the output,
>> as I recall.  

>That's pretty accurate. A lot of applications didn't even care about elements 
>or attributes as we'd understand them now.

Right, but I didn't see those.  Well, wait a minute.  The Context Mentor 
system did a bit of weirdness where we mapped the elements into these 
little descriptor files that it then used to create the menus and 
bind the text to the format.  It's been a long time, but it was a 
scripted tool and this was pretty easy to do.  But it was all mapping 
and it didn't care much about SGMLisms; just the big ol' string it 
was creating.  It was Charlie Sorgi at Context who taught me the 
phrase, "SGML nazis" and then a lot about how to get around SGML 
when building a quasiwyg. (No folks, you aren't the first generation 
to question standards, question authority, or cheat the gatekeepers for 
the privilege of skating on thin ice.)

> Things are better now.  Where are my
> anti-psychotics?

>Are they though? We have more and better tools, but the problems still loom as 

They seem better to me.  Maybe it's just the company we keep. :-)  But 
I sit here and daily listen to programmers talking about the different 
ways they are using XML The Syntax and File without ever touching much 
of the framework.  Of course, these are not web apps; just UnicodeWithBrackets. 
And some of them question that too (what is the right encoding 
for Chinese; does the encoding declaration matter?).  There sure seems 
to be a momentum building out there to put an object layer over XML. 
It may be that I'm too old and have too many broken bones to 
make it out of the Ice Age and into the warm webshine.

>I'm lucky I guess: I never experienced the pain in DC... only the aftershocks 
>in Japan :-) Also, as a toolsmith, I never much cared about the lack of them!

I don't mind sharpening the flints we steal from 
the XML cro-magnons, but making them is women's work. 
I forgot to mention drinking from the skulls of the 
usability engineers, and the unbelievable pleasure of 
grinding the bones of the ODA witch doctors.  We should 
have hunted the PDFers to extinction while we had the 
chance, but the DC tribe protected them.

oh well... back to FoxPro.



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