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Re: [xml-dev] Wikipedia on XML

On Wed, 26 Aug 2009 00:03:03 +0200, Michael Ludwig wrote:
> Amelia A Lewis schrieb am 25.08.2009 um 17:24:46 (-0400):
>> On Tue, 25 Aug 2009 22:35:01 +0200, Michael Ludwig wrote:
>>> Browsers do not need to download anything they already have in
>>> a local cache. They could add the important DTDs here:
>>> C:\temp :: dir "C:\Programme\Mozilla Firefox\res\dtd" /s /b
>>> C:\Programme\Mozilla Firefox\res\dtd\mathml.dtd
>>> C:\Programme\Mozilla Firefox\res\dtd\xhtml11.dtd
>>> People just need to agree on what's important.
>> This seems to be an attitude common for the HTML-centered (is it 
>> appropriate to describe you so?)
> I don't think so :-) I don't really understand this HTML/XML discussion.
> Seems somehow political to me. I guess I'd have to be following for a
> longer time in order to understand. And I haven't followed the new HTML
> movement at all. I don't know what they want.
> So unfortunately, I didn't understand your strategic observations on
> HTML and XML either. Maybe it's some kind of Bolshevik-Menshevik
> conflict?

Oops!  Then please accept my apologies.  Although ... since my academic 
training was in Soviet History, I'm utterly *charmed* that you should 
liken this to the split in the social democratic movement in Russia.  

HTML, in all revisions to date, includes a "standard" (actually, a W3C 
Recommendation, which is a nice distinction), and browser extensions.  
XML was designed (this from the cheap seats; I didn't get involved 
until after the hard work had been done) for extensibility (although 
1.0 did *not* include the notion of how to distribute authority--that 
was acknowledged, in the reservation of ":" in names, but was only 
achieved via the "namespaces in XML" specification, which unfortunately 
was not and is not particularly compatible with DTD as defined in XML 

HTML is consequently a bit like freedom of the press (prior to the 
explosion of web publication): if you're rich enough to own a press, 
you can print what you like on it.  Without suggesting conspiracy, 
anyone rich enough, or influential enough, to own a press or control 
the direction of the development of a browser with significant market 
share, is going to share quite a number of goals, assumptions, even 
prejudices, with other such owners/controllers.  The pressures that 
influence a person, or corporation, that achieves that level of 
"influence" tends to produce, in those persons, a similarity of mindset.

MathML and ChemistryML are examples of academic efforts (a world apart 
from the world of corporations funding browser development) that have 
made a clear space for themselves.  SVG was the pet project of graphics 
geeks ... again, not folks who have ended up setting the direction for 
browser development.

When authority is distributed, passion and utility become valued of 
themselves.  The passion of the committers, the utility of their 
product.  It's unusual, outside the XML world, to see "passion" and 
"utility" coupled with "specification".  In the XML world, it's almost 
usual.  There are personality oddities (I'm one of them) who write 
specifications for *fun*, and who care about them deeply, and who are 
willing to argue with anyone else who displays *passion* about whether 
changes really are improvements.

XML (+namespaces) has that.  HTML does not.  Instead, it has browser 
vendors.  I happen to admire Google, and it's "do no evil" principle, 
but "do no evil" != "do good."

It's not so much political, it's just that the HTML specification 
(regardless of version, and excepting XHTML) does not provide a way for 
passionate specification geeks to pound out an interchange format in 
dad's garage (on his automotive computer?) and see it adopted via 
contributed code.  Contributed code *can* do so such specifications in 
an environment that promotes distributed authority.

> I read your gHorribleKludge article :-) [1]

*laugh*  gDay, mate!

> No offense taken at all. (I always hope my comments trigger insightful
> replies. Just sometimes, like now, I lack the background necessary to
> understand.)

Does this help, I hope?


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