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A tribute to XML, its tool set, and to all those who made it happen

Hi Folks,

I believe that XML, its tool set, and the people who made them happen have not been properly credited for their contribution to advancing the representation and processing of knowledge.

Consider this: representing knowledge in a hierarchical tree arrangement is fundamental; this method of representing knowledge has been around since Aristotle. Because of XML and its tool set, humans now can readily express knowledge hierarchies in human-readable text descriptions and seamlessly transition those descriptions to a computer for computer processing. 

Here’s a sampling of the ways that XML and its tool set have advanced the capabilities of humans:

-          The XML syntax along with the ubiquity of text editors have resulted in the ability to readily express knowledge hierarchies.

-          XML parsers make possible the seamless transition of knowledge hierarchies to machine-processable computer representations.

-          Traversing knowledge hierarchies is readily expressed using the powerful XPath language.

-          XPath processors seamlessly convert XPath expressions to a form that can be automatically evaluated by a computer.

-          Sets of rules describing relationships that must hold true in a knowledge hierarchy is expressed using Schematron; the rules are automatically evaluated using a Schematron processor.

And we can do all of this without writing a single line of code.


To my mind this represents an enormous leap forward for humankind.

Thanks to all the people and their tireless efforts over the last 18 years to materialize these capabilities.


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