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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.
I have no idea whether the simplication helped XML's final success,
but I remember that SGML's lexical complexity was a major incentive to
develop XML in the first place.
> Isn't the question rather to know if there is a real need for RDF in
> which case it will be used even if it is not perfect?
There may be a need for a general-purpose data format of some kind,
but RDF does not have to be the format that people end up adopting
(nor does XML Topic Maps, lest any XTM people following this thread
are tempted to feel smug). Remember that there was a need for a
standard hypertext format in the late 1980's -- what happened to all
Likewise, there was a need for generic markup on the Web, but it could
as easily have been LISP-like or RTF-like or LaTeX-like as SGML-like
-- any of those can model tree structures. XML had an advantage
because its tags looked a bit like HTML, but it still had to do a lot
of things right to get the initial attention and developer enthusiasm
that it did and then hold onto that enthusiasm afterwards -- one of
the most important things was making life (relatively) easy for
developers, though now that XML is a fait-accompli we tend to focus on
the few parts the original XML WG got wrong.
All the best,