Paul Prescod papresco at
Wed Nov 26 18:19:23 GMT 1997

Simon St.Laurent wrote:
> XML says it is SGML.  Fine.  But should the future development of XML be aimed
> at gradually including SGML features, or should it be aimed at meeting the
> needs of the developing XML community?  

This is a completely false dichotomy. XML will grow *both* to gradually
include SGML features and to extend SGML in ways specific to the Web
community. The relevant example is the short-tag syntax. This is *much
more* appropriate on the Web, where everyone is used to editing things
by hand, than in the SGML world, where we often buy expensive editors or
use emacs. It is also much more appropriate in XML, which does not have
tag minimization than in general SGML, which does. In other words, the
Microsoft people were trying to solve a problem for Web users by
recognizing a good idea in SGML. This is exactly *why* XML was designed
to be a subset of SGML (it didn't have to be).

> If a company wants to use something more powerful, why don't they consider
> 'real' SGML an get a parser designed for that instead of creating documents
> that are called XML but are no longer XML?  Using this suggestion effectively
> will require a new series of standards to define what features of SGML have
> been added to a set of documents so that people don't blindly run them through
> XML parsers with the switch set wrong.  Data interchange will be a mess, once
> again.

I can't believe that this is your logical extrapolation from an
*undocumented* switch in a parser for a language that doesn't exist yet.
The mere hint of extra features is enough to bring the Web crashing to
its knees.
 Paul Prescod

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