Simple approaches to XML implementation

len bullard cbullard at
Sat Mar 1 05:05:09 GMT 1997

Peter Murray-Rust wrote:
> So, are there simple tools for creating well-formed documents?  Can HTML
> editors be extended? (Since I create a lot of my XML documents by hand,
> I'd be interested to have shortcuts).

Where it is well-formed, XML is very amenable to macros which 
ANY word processor system has these days.  Just having end 
tags makes it easy to write editing tools in, for example, 
Word using the dialog editor and hidden text.  Klugy, perhaps, 
but not out of reach and the formatting is free.
> Most documents will then need some sort of processing. 

Sure.  Does it have to be event streams?  While more powerful, 
even cheap macros can do a lot.  The idea here is, while XML is 
good for the Internet, simplified SGML is good for just about 
any thing where content markup is preferred over encapsulated 
objects or compiled structures.  Just removing minimization, 
as you point out, allows for some clever work to be done 
with very cheap tools.   Cheap tools are where the gains begin.

> I've been writing something this morning to do exactly that for HTML.  I use
> Java, but there's nothing fundamental about what language you use (a year
> ago I used tcl/tk with CoST).  So, for example, I take a _stream_ of HTML,
> write it to the screen, and every time I encounter a flag (tag) I take
> appropriate action.  If the document is well-formed,  the tags should nest
> so that the interpreting/parsing process must throw an error if an end-tag
> is encountered unexpectedly.
> XML is committed to making things simple!

XML has made SGML simple.  It can even be simpler than that.


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