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Re: [xml-dev] "XML for the Long Haul" program available

On Jun 15, 2010, at 4:19 PM, Costello, Roger L. wrote:

>> People who create, store, query, or serve XML expect it to live a 
>> very long time. XML is platform- and application-independent, and by 
>> and large it is platforms and applications that vanish. If by 
>> encoding information in XML we have freed it from dependency on 
>> specific platforms or applications, have we succeeded in ensuring 
>> that the XML can live long into the future? Or is there more to it 
>> than using XML? How can we best ensure that our data, all our data, 
>> and its semantics survive this year, next year, ten years? into the 
>> next millennium?
> This is a fascinating topic.

A couple of things regarding your points below:

> Setting aside the issue of whether or not someone 200 years from now will be able to understand the semantics of the XML text that we create today,

The U.S. Constitution was written not too much over 200 years ago, and we still seem to spend an awful lot of time debating its semantics, despite the fact it was written in English.  Would we have done better, worse, or about the same if we'd written it using XML?  (Or would the delegates to the Constitutional Convention still be arguing about the XML Schema to use in writing it?)

> isn't there a more fundamental issue: will there be any tools that understand the encoding used by today's computers? Will UTF-8 still exist 200 years from now? Will there be tools that can interpret UTF-8 200 years from now?

As a backup, why don't we just print it out (acid-free paper of course!)?  Or maybe just the important stuff (NSA may be interested in every XML message ever sent over the net, but I doubt anyone else will be).  XML's supposed to be text, after all.  


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