XML is boring (was Re: coming clean with the SGML crowd)

Mark D. Anderson mda at discerning.com
Fri Sep 11 18:18:02 BST 1998

>It strikes me that the application that is going to make the public sit up and 
>notice XML is the one that lets me ask: "Make a table of all hotels in New York 
>that cost less than $100 and are within walking distance of Central Park."
>The good news is that this application is completely possible (and almost, but 
>not quite, inevitable).  The bad news is that it's still a ways off.  What it 
>requires is enough people writing their Web documents in XML (with widely 
>accepted element tag names) to make it worthwhile for the search engines to 
>offer this kind of functionality.

I would think it also requires a query protocol, for use directly by
a UA, or proxy'd by a search engine (or network of engines,
using referals). Current web search is based on document retrieval,
which is increasingly unrealistic as content becomes dynamic: 
no search engine can index Microsoft's knowledge base, can they?
(And there are many other cases where there isn't even an underlying
set of documents.)

The only proposal I've seen for such a protocol is DASL, which is specific
to WEBDAV. Is there anything in the works for RDF or XML? Of course, such a spec
presumes consolidation of a metadata format (XSchema or whatever).


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