XML is boring (long --- sorry)

Peter Murray-Rust peter at ursus.demon.co.uk
Sat Sep 12 20:25:22 BST 1998

At 12:51 11/09/98 -0500, Paul Prescod wrote:

Paul is right, of course.
>Furthermore, XML has no competitors. PDF cannot do what XML can do. RTF

I keep reminding myself of this - that there is nowhere else to hide.

>cannot do it. PostScript cannot do it. HTML cannot do it. People are hyped
>about XML because they have been waiting for it without knowing that they
>were doing so.
>Now I know that Peter is in a little bit of a hurry. He wants his chemist

Mainly because assumed that the hype would drive the creation of XML
resources. My strategy - within chemistry - assumed that there would be a
large number of XML applications on the WWW by the end of the year. That's
what everyone had been saying. Although the current speed is not
unreasonable for the development of a difficult new subject, I am sup=rised
that it is so difficult to find DTDs or document fragments out on the WWW.
And that things like XLink have not generated anything.

>peers to adopt XML as quickly as possible. Maybe hype would help them to
>do that. Maybe not. But with or without hype, they will eventually adopt

I have no illusions about the time it will take mainstream chemists to
adopt XML. It will be the document-driven areas that drive it (patents,
regulatory, safety, publishing). I had assumed, however, that if XML was
ubiquitous - as we were led to believe, then it would be difficult to ignore. 

So the recent posting was as much as anything a reality check to make sure
that I (and others) were not missing large amounts of public XML resources.
It seems not - a few applications that emit XML have been posted here, and
I have been told of a few likely commercial developments. I have probably
done some people a disfavour - e.g. I remembered SMIL and BSML after my
initial posting.

I would not like to think that XML ends up like X-windows - a powerful
system with 5 thick impenetrable manuals before you can actually do
anything. Because, although I understand the view that XML can be compared
to ASCII, it's much more than that and we shouldn't let that get lost.

I shall continue to try to rally the enthusiast community - there is
nothing in XML that says you can only play if you are a company - though it
often appears that way. 
Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
net connection
VSMS http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vsms, Virtual Hyperglossary

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