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Re: [xml-dev] seduced by markup

On Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 9:07 PM, Steve Newcomb <srn@coolheads.com> wrote:
With the greatest respect, John, I see it quite differently.

I propose that our job as priests is not so much to do the singing, as
we generally do.  Instead, it is to help *everyone* sing, thus to enter
into the joy of a more functional, integrated, interdependent and
prosperous community.

I believe this is the right principle, but just as priests have been seeing their flocks dwindle in the past century, so have the priests of markup. Developers are more interested in drugs, hook-ups and rising to the top of their nearest kleptocapitalistic corporation than achieving any higher purpose. Shouldn't really surprise us.

It's probably best to switch from Latin to demotic, do a savage editing of the liturgy, and accept 5% tithes rather than 10%. That's kinda what we'e attempting to do with MicroXML, and though there is definitely a heresy to it for some churches, I think it's just a matter of trying to at least salvage a bit of the sanctified, perhaps just the beatitudes and the golden rule, to do some good in the modern world.

What you see as elegance, I see as beautifully-wrought art based on the
assumption that a priesthood of parserheads will be the primary users.
It's great for people like us, but it's less comprehensible and less
universally available to everyone else.  Most of humanity, including the
people who are more qualified than we are to make domain-specific
decisions with economic, political and technical consequences, is better
equipped to learn the clunky old DTD syntax.

In my experience non-technical people are much more likely to make sense of RNC than DTD.  One of the most palpable manifestations I ever saw of this phenomenon was on a project at Sun Microsystems (RIP), when I converted a content model from DTD to RNG and was amazed at the gratitude I earned from everyone who had to deal with it, which included a surprising number of middle management types (let's just say the "blame" command was sometimes executed during a conference call).

(I freely admit it's a bitch to parse.  But natural language is much
harder.   Another demonstration that human communication is quite
different from machine "communication".)

Everyone writes documents.  Everyone knows what a telephone number is,
and the local rules for constructing one.  But comparatively few people
know what a data type is, much less the traditional primitive datatypes,
or any but the vaguest notions about relational databases.  If we bear
those facts foremost in our minds, while ignoring everything we know
about computing, we may begin to suspect that the whole endeavor of
bringing strong data typing into the world of document interchange was a
trip into the weeds, at least from the most general perspective of human
communication and the world economy.

Amen to this last paragraph. Amen, I say! Amen!

I said "can I get a witness!" and the heavens delivered! :)

Uche Ogbuji                                       http://uche.ogbuji.net
Founding Partner, Zepheira                  http://zepheira.com
Author, Ndewo, Colorado                     http://uche.ogbuji.net/ndewo/
Founding editor, Kin Poetry Journal      http://wearekin.org
Editor & Contributor, TNB     http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/author/uogbuji/
http://copia.ogbuji.net    http://www.linkedin.com/in/ucheogbuji    http://twitter.com/uogbuji

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