A little wish for short end tags (Was: RE: SDD bogus)

Paul Prescod papresco at technologist.com
Sat May 9 06:33:03 BST 1998

W. Eliot Kimber wrote:
> Markup minimization is a slippery slope--in for a penny, in for a pound.

I don't think that slippery slope arguments are interesting in technical
discussions. You and I are smart enough to hammer out reasonable
compromises. XML is full of such reasonable compromises. XML *is* such a

One could have made the argument that as soon as you allowed element type
declarations (for example) you are inevitably on the slope down to
including every kind of declaration and pseudo-declaration SGML allows. Or
once you make one concession to bandwidth (e.g. the external entity
optionality) you are going to end up making all such concessions (of which
markup minimization would be one). Or once you made one concession to easy
parsability (fixed delimiters), you are going to end up making them all
(but we allowed alternate literal string delimiters). Etc. etc. etc.

But of course reasonable people do not (and did not) go that route. We
weighed the costs and benefits of *each* feature more or less
individually, and kept some and threw out some. I believe that this
process works just as well for minimization. Just because one language
went overboard does not mean that all future ones must shun minimzation as
if it were heroine.

 Paul Prescod  - http://itrc.uwaterloo.ca/~papresco

Can we afford to feed that army, 
 while so many children are naked and hungry?
Can we afford to remain passive, 
 while that soldier-army is growing so massive?
  - "Gabby" Barbadian Calpysonian in "Boots"

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