Sequence <was> Access Languages ...

Marcus Carr mrc at
Tue Nov 25 02:52:39 GMT 1997

Derek Denny-Brown wrote:

> >Or, if you would prefer, you could use shortref in SGML and parse the comma
> >delimited files, making your input both a database dump and a valid SGML
> >instance and your output valid XML.
> But using shortref would defeat the whole point of helping the documents to be
> "self-describing".

As part of the document, the DTD would act as a formal centralised reference
rather than having to infer the structure by examination of the instances; I was
alluding to data handling generally rather than the point you were making about
self-describing documents.

> There really is need of a good book, along the lines of of what Nelson Minar was
> talking about when he refered to
> >I'm reminded of what happened in the first few months of 1994, when a
> >lot of people suddenly learned HTML. One of the most useful documents
> >(for me) of that period was Eric Tilton's essay "Composing Good HTML"
> and the need for something with XML.  Such a task is much harder for XML since
> XML can be used for many purposes.

I agree, a flood of good books will be useful. I suspect that the diversity you
mention will lead to smaller publications dealing with single or fairly
tightly-grouped applications of XML.

> I fail to understand how "the current discussion" is an "enemy of moderation and
> controlled change".

Sorry, that does read very badly. What I mean is that answers to XML issues should
be given a fair chance to evolve naturally. HTML was allowed to be just a way to
present documents while people figured out how to extend it in various directions.
Although many lessons have been learned from HTML that XML can springboard from, I
think there is some danger in the perception that XML is the best way to do almost
everything. XML will be supplementary to what a number of organisations have been
doing for a long time - for many it will just be a way of putting SGML on the web
without converting to HTML first. "The current discussion" should of course go on
- I also read it with interest.


Marcus Carr                  email:  mrc at
Allette Systems (Australia)  email:  info at
Level 10, 91 York Street     www:
Sydney 2000 NSW Australia    phone:  +61 2 9262 4777
                             fax:    +61 2 9262 4774

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