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I read this thread with a little chuckle.
I remember attending the early SGML conferences and hearing about
how GREAT SGML was and how much it would improve the delivery of data. Users
and developers were encouraged to support Vendors who embraced the
technology in their products as well as their white papers. And so I waited.
And the along came XML, an improvement to SGML? Schemas to replace
DTDs? What standards to follow? And what software to use?
I too was given a schema and documents that a client developed using
XMetal that would not parse with XMLSpy. Since the client wasn't doing
anything but creating structure with the Schema I saved it as a DTD and used
my trusty James Clark NSGMLS parser which works every time. (James Clark -
alias SGML/XML Super(man/person) to the developer masses)
Tools have been too slow in coming. W3C specs don't seem to be the
best and are subject to interpretation (per discussions on XMLDev). Quark,
Microsoft, Xyvision, Corel (Word Perfect), etc. seem to be starting, but
what took them so long. Does the W3C take to long to get specs to
recommendation? (I have heard that from some.) That never seemed to be a
problem with James Clark or Yuri Rubinski of SoftQuad. They seemed to be
ahead of the times, driving forces.
Don't get me wrong, no flames please. I have spent the last 40 years
converting legacy data to the latest technology and with each new technology
there has been improvement. But with each technology I had to develop my own
tools because those on the market didn't work completely per specs or didn't
import/export legacy data. How do you import/export Quark, MSWord, Xyvision,
Word Perfect documents to and from XML as well as from one to the other? I
just wish the Vendors embraced SGML/XML as much as I do.
BUT, I don't think XML (at least in its current state) is the final
answer. Bandwidth, Tag/metadata to content ratio. What's the next
Technology? I read somewhere that the future of data storage/delivery
systems is human senses (Sound, Video, Touch, Smell, Taste) not just for
rendering information, but for collecting, storing, and interpretation. So
is that Binary XML?
My point of this is that as XML developers we have to go back to the
earlier statement "support Vendors who embrace the technology in their
products as well as their white papers". If a vendor claims his tool support
90% of a technology, is he willing to accept 90% of what it sells for? Are
you willing to use it knowing it doesn't work?