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   Re: [xml-dev] XML too hard for programmers?

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On Mon, 17 Mar 2003, Simon St.Laurent wrote:

> This isn't a new thread - sorry - but this time the claim comes from an
> unusual source, that infamous XML-critic Tim Bray:
> http://tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2003/03/16/XML-Prog
> "XML is a bouncing thriving five-year-old now, and yet I've been feeling
> unsatisfied with it, particularly in recent times. In particular in my
> capacity as a programmer...."

I don't fall into any of Tim's three programming baskets, so perhaps that
explains why XML has made my life so easy. (Or, since the baskets divide up
"serious programming", it may explain only that I am silly.)

I work in a tech pubs group, and I get paid to develop programs that do
things with XML documents that are authored by humans. As in books. Our
authoring format is SGML, and we publish to print, to CD-ROM, and on-line.

In the bad-old days of SGML, there were so few tools available for text
processing. There was one language - Omnimark - which, though it excelled
at performing translations, wasn't good for much else, imposed a single
processing model (events, not DOM) and was difficult to integrate with
other systems. Now I have my choice of processing models and programming

We used to use Inso's Dynaweb to deliver our SGML books online. Since
switching to XML for publication, we were able to reengineer a replacement
for Dynaweb, using standard XML tools and a relational detabase. It
probably took several years of engineering time to develop Dynaweb. It took
me, working largely alone, about 8 months to develop most of docs.sun.com

So, all I'm saying is, if you think programming with XML is hard, cast
your thoughts back five years, and try to imagine how would have solved
then whatever problem is vexing you now. 

// Gregory Murphy <Gregory.Murphy@sun.com>
// Software Engineer
// Customer Network Platform, Sun Microsystems


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