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   Re: [xml-dev] RDF syntax

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vdv@dyomedea.com (Eric van der Vlist) writes:
>I am really wondering if the reason of the success of XML is really
>the simplification over SGML as it has been written so many times.
>This simplification has helped, but SGML (or any kind of other derived
>markup language) would probably invaded the web anyway just because
>this was a real need at that point in time.

Wow.  I still hated SGML when I found XML in the first place.  I'd
encountered SGML before I found HTML, when I was doing HyperCard work in
hypertext and was looking for prospects beyond HyperCard.

I can't imagine generic SGML reaching the Web.  Not that SGML is bad -
I've learned an incredible amount from the SGML experience since
overcoming my aversion - but for reasons that (I think) have also
impeded ASN.1:

1) Limited tools availability.  Either they were very expensive,
supported only a part of the spec, or both, with a few exceptions.
(James Clark is, as usual, responsible for some exceptions.)

2) Difficult to explain.  The SGML Handbook is a marvel, but I can't
imagine handing it to most of the people I've ever worked with and
saying "do this".  XML made it possible to explain the core - by
demonstration - in fifteen minutes.  It was a privilege to write a 350
page book on a 30-odd page spec.  (Even NOTATIONs and unparsed entities
seem easy to me now relative to the contortions I've dealt with

Unfortunately, the "XML family" suffers mightily from #2 at this point,
so it's hardly like the magic X makes it immune from obfuscation.  Now
that SGML looks simpler than XML, maybe...

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org


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