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What Is XML ? WAS : RE: [xml-dev] [OT] Re: [xml-dev] Lessonslearned from the XML experiment

I have resisted the vast temptation to add to this thread ... being at a conference may have helped,

but also the also the many deviations from civil conversations into areas I didn't want to get dragged into ...


But I will drag this once ... perhaps because its Sunday AM and my brain is saturated with AWS sessions I need to clear it out :)


What Is XML ?

I see a strong disconnect here, very opinionated, and in my mind *both right*.


On the one hand:

1) "XML is precisely what the specs say it is, no less and no more".

This is strictly true, and I respect this immensely.  In fact 90%+ of the time it's also the more useful perspective

because most questions 'about XML' are about precisely this 'What do the specs say is really a proxy for "Why doesn't my code work"


But, I beg to offer a different perspective, one Hans is hinting at

And here I will admit I am mis-using a term intentionally which I actively dislike in general but allow me this for a moment  before I revise it


2) "XML is a powerful abstraction that allows people and technologies to interoperate at a high level using a well-defined data model (XDM), where

the text serialization is but one representation and not necessarily the important one."


Which is strictly untrue but I argue its useful and the  bone of contention is not the concept but rather the terminology.

"XML" != "XML" in these statements ....

And while this is a technical audience misusing precise terms does cause confusion and contention.

So maybe using a different term would be more useful ? I dont know if there *pre exists* a precise previously defined term for what Hans is suggesting (#2).

But that doesn't make the concept bad.    I think its a very powerful concept that was allowed to grow precisely because there was no previous word for it.


So maybe it might be useful to make up a new term for this concept so it doesn't get confused with #1 ...

Barring that, may I suggest we consider, that in some contexts "XML" means different things *intentionally* ... to different people and different conversations.

I know Thats confusing ... but it might make conversations easier to understand if one doesn't pre-assume "XML" means "The XML as defined by the spec".

<duck serious arrows and flame throwers>


So to avoid the arrow holes and charred skin ... maybe its useful to use a different term then "XML" for #2 ... I dont know what that might be.


To this day I think  Physics suffers from using the word "particles" well after we discovered they weren't tiny balls of solid rock.

In the case of Physics the  term has evolved to take on the meaning of whatever the latest thingy we want ...

In the case of XML ... the term seems stuck with the spec definition even though its used in a much wider context ... like say "Coke"

For precision Thats probably a good thing, but for communication of ideas I suggest it is not.












David A. Lee




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