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Re: [xml-dev] seduced by markup

On 11/15/13 11:48 PM, Liam R E Quin wrote:
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.
But this is rarely true. Very very few people design XML vocabularies today, or will, in any model. Even in my gothic model, completely new designs are unusual, though tweaks should be ordinary.

Unfortunately, XML took an early turn toward letting programmers rather than markup experts impose the expectations by which vocabularies are designed, and the result is crap for everyone. Programmers suffer through markup. Markup folks suffer through programming expectations and constraints that make little sense in markup.

(Except for those in the DTD and RELAX NG and schema-free diasporas, of course. RELAX NG stands out as a bright and shining intersection where people took concepts from programming and asked how they applied to markup rather than the other way around.)

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.
Yes, and they take full advantage of the likely transience of the formats they create. As little as I like looking at JSON directly, they certainly built a world in which programmers can be programmers and talk with programmers about programming problems. There are glitches, but no major shifts of worldview.

When you use HTML, you are using a vocabulary designd primarily by Web
browser people, and the Web browser is primary, not your data.
And this is the mistake of the web browser people, who now seem to have optimized their code so severely that they can't cope with element syntax rather than attribute syntax for things like responsive images.

I still have hope that Web Components et al. will free us from their constraints, but I'm curious whether the vendors will truly give up that much control over the browser.

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.
No. We've done that over and over and over and over already. We've wasted the last decade trying to make XML sound more appealing to programmers. Can we stop pouring resources (almost all of the resources committed to XML tool development) down that hole?

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.
It exists, as Daniela noticed, in JSON, a completely appropriate place. I have indeed heard sudden joy around JSONiq.

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
We've understand the reasons for a very very long time. Understanding the reasons and catering to them has accomplished less than nothing. We've poisoned XML while its relevance to programmers continually diminished. It has not been a fruitful conversation.

Love the sinner doesn't mean "be sinful".

Simon St.Laurent

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