Sequence <was> Access Languages ...

Paul Prescod papresco at
Sun Nov 23 17:29:00 GMT 1997

Mark L. Fussell wrote:
> SGML is designed to describe information, and although the original vision
> may have been focused on describing documents I believe that was just
> because it was the particular task at hand.

I think that you have this backwards. SGML was designed to represented
documents and insofar as documents share properties with some other
types of information, SGML can represent other information. I see no
reason to believe that a single notation could efficiently represent all
forms of information.  If we take this to an extreme then most people
seem to agree: how soon do you expect we will represent bitmapped
graphics in XML?

My personal rule of thumb is that it is okay to represent some
non-document data type in SGML/XML if it is convenient to do so without
extending SGML/XML in a way that would make it less appropriate for
dealing with documents. Suboptimal extensions would be those that
confuse the organizational principles of SGML or make it more
complicated to implement or understand (such as complex validity

 Paul Prescod

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