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Re: [xml-dev] May a thousand meta-languages flourish

Fundamentally, all languages serve exactly the same purpose: symbolic communication. The difference between meta-language and language is one of perspective; it's not intrinsic. In general, may an unlimited number of languages, useful for an unlimited number of purposes, flourish.

And they will flourish (and wither) whether we like it or not. The creation of a new language designed to meet requirements already met by an existing language is by definition an anti-pattern, but it happens all the time. It's part of human reality. Fundamentally, one cannot say anything new without designing a way to say it. Perhaps it's a new way, and perhaps not. It's not practical to find out which, and it's never a de-novo invention anyway.

It's a design *meta*-pattern to take the reality of Babel into account, because that reality touches everything we do as cultural creatures and as creatures of our cultures.

Much misery could be avoided by judicious application of the above-mentioned meta-pattern, but there's evidently a shortage of will to apply it. A sad human reality: *how* things are said is much easier to criticize (and demonize) than *what* is being said.

I'm noticing that this sure is a long, hot summer. I wonder whether our propensity for violence is somehow inherent in the curse of Babel, or are the differences in our ways of saying things merely excuses for starting new cycles of violence? It does appear that the *how* is a handy excuse for violence of every kind, and violence begets violence until (a) the *what* finally becomes more important than the *how*, or (b) everyone's exhausted or dead, whichever comes first.

On 07/26/2014 08:51 AM, Costello, Roger L. wrote:
Hi Folks,

I have been using XML a long time. I think it's fabulous.

Recently I have been immersed in JSON. I think it's also fabulous.

Which is better: XML or JSON?

I think that's the wrong question. The right question is: why are they so fabulous?

XML and JSON are really not so different. They are both meta-languages. That is, they instruct users: "Create your languages by following this form."

There is no reason to believe that the XML form or the JSON form is the one divine form.

But, the concept of defining a meta-language and then deriving languages from it, well, that is a truly divine idea.

XML and JSON should be treated as good meta-languages. That is, they provide fine examples of how to create languages: define a meta-language first and then from it create languages.

Are you part of a community that needs to create a collection of languages? Create a meta-language first and then derive your languages from it.

May a thousand meta-languages flourish.

I welcome your thoughts.



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