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Re: [xml-dev] seduced by markup

On Fri, 2013-11-15 at 12:58 -0500, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
> I've been trying to figure out why I so deeply loathe the programmers 
> who regard markup as something to hide behind their tools, a mere 
> lubricant to the conversations they would have had anyway.

Gandhi suggested that we learn to love the sinner even when we hate
their sins. It's ironic that this is often attributed to Jesus.

I see it like this:

When you design an XML vocabulary, you are in control. You own your own
data format. You are an information architect.

When you use JSON, you are often in the role of a programmer, an
application designer, and the JSON format you design is a reflection of
the objects in your program. The program owns the data.

When you use HTML, you are using a vocabulary designd primarily by Web
browser people, and the Web browser is primary, not your data.

XML frees your information from being optimized for, and specific to,
any one program. But the consequence of this is that it is not as
convenient for the programmer. So programmers tend to dislike it.

Further, programmers were forced early on to use the DOM to work with
XML, and this was so unwieldy that almost anything else is better, even
it forces you to wear shoes and socks.

It's not a lost battle.

Instead, we must move the battleground.

This is why, for example, XQuery is so interesting, because it straddles
all the worlds. Where the XML DOM takes the programmer-unfriendly
aspects of XML and forces the programmer to deal with them, XQuery hides
many of them. I somethimes think that if we renamed XQuery as "Very Fast
Forest Engine" (VFFE) it might become more popular, as the programmers
might forget about their hatred and fear for the things they do not
control (such as XML) in their sudden joy.

But for now at least yes, many programmers have good reasons to dislike
XML, and it helps all of us in the XML world to understand these


Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
Ankh: irc.sorcery.net irc.gnome.org freenode/#xml

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