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Re: [xml-dev] Wikipedia on XML

Amelia A Lewis schrieb am 25.08.2009 um 20:12:06 (-0400):
> On Wed, 26 Aug 2009 00:03:03 +0200, Michael Ludwig wrote:
> > 
> > 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.  :-)

Hmm. To be honest, it wasn't meant to be charming - just an analogy. But
if you find it charming, that's all the better.

> HTML, in all revisions to date, includes a "standard" (actually, a W3C
> Recommendation, which is a nice distinction), and browser extensions.
> XML was designed [...] for extensibility (although 1.0 did *not*
> include the notion of how to distribute authority--that was [...] only
> achieved via the "namespaces in XML" specification [...]

So XML for extensibility, namespaces for compartmentalizing XML work.

> HTML is consequently a bit like freedom of the press

Consequently? But I get your point about "freedom of the press".

While I could do without this "free press", I think that browser vendors
do have stakes in and rights to HTML as they have put a lot of work in
building their browsers and do not charge us a lot of money for it.

> The pressures that influence a person, or corporation, that achieves
> that level of "influence" tends to produce, in those persons, a
> similarity of mindset.

Maybe, but it sounds like speculation to me. If assumed valid, that
statement should be assumed valid for other camps, too.

So MathML, ChemistryML and SVG did not come from the browser camp.

I'm uncertain about the implications of the term "distributed
authority". Aren't namespaces just a technical mechanism for shielding
one collection of words from all others? A practical necessity?

> When authority is distributed, passion and utility become valued of 
> themselves.

Hmm. Aren't they always?

> XML (+namespaces) has that.  HTML does not.  Instead, it has browser
> vendors.

In general, these browsers serve me pretty well. I would also think that
at least some passion has been put in their development.

> 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.

Would that also promote browser stability? Maybe some of it can be done
via browser extensions?

> > (I always hope my comments trigger insightful replies. Just
> > sometimes, like now, I lack the background necessary to understand.)
> Does this help, I hope?

Yes! I see clearer now. Thanks!

Michael Ludwig

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