MS XML parser only works with IE...

Rick Jelliffe ricko at
Tue Nov 25 03:31:16 GMT 1997

> From: Don Park <donpark at>

> FYI, after writing the first of the three letter mentioned above, I
> contacted Andrew Layman at MS and offered to help make MSXML completely
> portable without performance sacrifices.  Both he and Chris Lovett liked the
> idea and we worked hard to make it happen over a weekend.  There was never
> any hesitation from them about this effort and I am convinced that there was
> absolutely no ill will from them regarding peculiar 'features' of MSXML.
> They thought they were neat features and got their ears chewed off for it.
> All they needed was a gentle reminder instead of the slap they got.  Let us
> not mix conspiracy theory with our judgement.

The other point is that floating "&" is required in SGML (even with the 
WebSGML adaptations, which have been accepted and are now being wordsmithed).
Short tagging "</>" is an optional feature that can be enabled.

If MSXML chooses to support some convenient SGML features on top of XML,
I dont see what there is to complain of. It seems a bonus to me.  One of 
SGML's main attractive features is that it does not attempt to enforce
policy in many areas: it provides a toolkit and gives the user the choice.  
This makes it more complex of course.  XML is a choice of particular
features by various boffins and experts, and so XML will inevitably be 
suboptimal for some uses.  

And there is a lot of old SGML material.  If having some clearly labelled
SGML extensions makes MSXML handle kinds of other kinds of SGML as well as
XML, great!  In fact, the more full SGML implementation that MXSML provides 
the better, IMHO.  Give us more, Chris and Andrew!  Allow entities to have
attributes like SGML does.  Allow tag ommission like SGML and HTML do! 

It is the nature of software to have experiments.  It is futile, but still
good, to try to freeze syntax.   I think this is why in the future
we will end up with a range of markup languages from XML to SGML '97. If this
is an alarming option (and it is), then the displine is for XML developers
(not parser makers) to only use XML features in their systems.  I am sure
that everyone who has been through SGML will agree that it is difficult
to not all the time wish for your favorite enhancements.  And, if you bite
the bullet and decide to go with the standard, you may then get flack for
being an unthinking sheep :-)

The problem is not with Microsoft for making their XML parser also handle
SGML better, the problem will be with users of the parser in software if they
use these features over the web rather than inhouse.  I.e. the problem is
"us" not "them".

Rick Jelliffe

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