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   Re: [xml-dev] Ted Nelson's "XML is Evil"

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Hunsberger, Peter wrote:
> Eric van der Vlist <vdv@dyomedea.com> writes:
>> On Tue, 2004-09-28 at 04:54, Liam Quin wrote: The three layer model
>> he's proposing doesn't seem very different from Durusau's Just In
>> Time Trees combined with a style sheet language and I wouldn't call
>> it a bad idea.

I agree - particularly for deep analysis of data with multiple
overlapping hierarchies. Much of what I have seen here involves biblical
texts or linguistic data.

But I wonder if this isn't for a relatively small set of users and 
applications. Few users get as far as thinking seriously about a single 
schema for a document, and much fewer will be able to think of multiple 
schemas for a single document. Every level of abstraction loses 90% of 
the audience.

And of course, Just In Time Trees use in-line markup. Out-of-line markup 
is also a well-known tool that is available for these kinds of 
requirements. And if there were an adequate commercial market for the 
full-fledged hypertext functionality originally envisioned in XLink, the 
whole ball of wax would be a standard today, with multiple 
implementations from vendors who are earning good money.

> CSS was around in 1997 when the article was written but I guess not 
> visible enough to be a real consideration?  In any case, I agree with
>  much of the article, but I'd also note a couple of things:
> 1) For data exchange where XML is a transitory exchange medium the 
> points are moot.  This is where much of the value in XML is today.
> The real growth area for XML is in data exchange and not in
> attempting to solve the concerns addressed by hypertext and the other
> mechanisms that Mr. Nelson is focused on.

I've been surprised by the amount of document data that is now showing 
up in XML now that it is an accepted format. And of course *tons* of 
document data is now in HTML, which also depends on in-line markup.

What percent of HTML users can even grasp Ted Nelson's argument? If they 
grasp it, what are they supposed to do to apply the lesson they learned 
using the software they have available to them? Who is going to build a 
business model for abandoning XML in favor of out-of-line markup systems 
with more sophisticated hypertext functionality?

> 2) Mr. Nelson seems to suggest that the "real" hypertext system are 
> still to come and when that happens XML will be at most a document 
> exchange mechanism.  If you follow xml-dev it would appear that there
> are few "priests" who would completely disapprove of this viewpoint.
> Maybe this is just the benefit of the 5 years or experience from
> when the article was written....

What's the silver bullet? What's going to drive people away from the 
HTML and XML systems that are good enough for 90% of what people need? 
What is it going to drive them to?



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