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Re: [xml-dev] An easy-to-use technology is a double-edged sword (XML is an easy-to-use technology)

Costello, Roger L. wrote, On 2008-06-10 14:40:
> Hi Folks,
> In his book, DOM Scripting, Jeremy Keith notes that an easy-to-use
> technology is a double-edged sword:
>     A technology that people can speedily and easily 
>     use will probably be adopted very quickly.  
>     However, there is likely to be a correspondingly 
>     low level of quality control.
>     For example, HTML's ease of use is one of the 
>     reasons behind the explosive growth of the Web.  
>     Anyone can learn the basics of HTML in a short 
>     space of time and create a web page very quickly.  
>     It's even possible to use WYSIWYG editors to make 
>     web pages without ever seeing a line of markup.  
>     The downside to this is that most pages on the 
>     Web are badly formed and don't validate.  
>     Browser vendors have to accept this state of 
>     affairs by making their software very forgiving 
>     and unfussy.  Much of the code in browser software 
>     is dedicated to handling ambiguous use of HTML 
>     and trying to second-guess how authors want 
>     their web pages rendered.  Thus, HTML's low 
>     barrier to entry has been a mixed blessing 
>     for the Web.
> XML is an easy-to-use technology.  XML's ease of use is one of the
> reasons that it has been adopted very quickly.  A downside of this is
> that there is little reuse.  It's easy to create your own XML
> vocabulary, so why bother using someone else's?  I see it time and time
> again, people creating new XML vocabularies when there already exists
> an XML vocabulary that does the same thing. The result is we end up
> with a million XML vocabulary islands, which interoperate only by
> creating complicated translation mechanisms, or don't interoperate at
> all.  XML's low barrier to entry has been a mixed blessing for the Web.
> Comments?
I agree with you and Keith. There are other areas in which you find 
similar problems, for example, visual basic scripts (OCX) that are easy 
to use and its transformation into COM and .NET (that have a much higher 
threshold). In many ways, CORBA and SOAP are solving the same problems, 
where CORBA is far more complex for the moment.
  I doubt that there is any immediate solution that will revolutionize 
the world. Projects that attempts to unify vocabularies run afoul if 
they try to cover too much ground, since the same concepts can mean 
different things in different areas as well as two different concepts 
may means the same thing. My favorite is "information" that AFAIK is 
synonymous with "data" in computer science literature, but in 
informatics it means "interpreted data"
   Concerning HTML, there are organizations and individuals who are able 
to create meaningfull, useful web pages in which information is readily 
available to whatever purpose you have in mind, whereas there are 
numerous examples of bad designs hiding information and/or have awful 
access times.  The only things that remedy the situation is education 
and artefacts (wizards, templates, methods), but this not a silver 
bullet. A research at CMU expressed it as "there are no replacement for 
good people". So, IMHO it is to keep up the good spirit and continue to 
work with various artefacts to help people do better work.
> /Roger
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Carpe Diem!
Jonas Mellin, Assistant Professor in Computer Science
School of Humanities and Informatics, Building E-2
University of Skövde, P.O. Box 408, SE-541 28 Skövde, Sweden
Phone: +46 500 448321, Fax: +46 500 448399
Email: jonas.mellin@his.se, URL: http://www.his.se/melj

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