Marcus Carr mrc at
Wed Nov 26 22:01:29 GMT 1997

Simon St.Laurent wrote:

> The market has spoken that SGML does a great job for managing enormous amounts
> of information.  It has also spoken that SGML presents enormous barriers to
> entry (steep learning curve, cost of development, etc.) that have kept a lot of
> people from using it.  SGML does a great job in many systems.  The "many" there,
> however, is a tiny select few compared to the many that a simpler syntax (i.e.
> XML) could reach.  The scale of those projects is very different from those XML
> makes possible.

Our company ramped into SGML by doing conversions from one proprietary format to
another. Even on relatively small data sets, we frequently used SGML in the middle
because tools like OmniMark made it easy to gather semantic information and apply
context-sensitive formatting on the down-translate. This meant that many of our
clients didn't even know that they used SGML. If you looked at this intermediate
data, you would not be able to classify it as SGML or XML - it is both, leaving
the only difference the tools that you use to manipulate the data.

You sound somewhat bitter about SGML, perhaps due to a large and difficult
project, but there are numerous small, simple SGML implementations around as well.
I'm not suggesting this approach is necessarily the norm, but nor do I don't think
that the delineation between what should be an SGML or XML project is as clear as
you imply - in many cases we plan to call the normalised output from an SGML
parser XML. Why not?


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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