XML is boring (keep the faith!)

Frank Boumphrey bckman at ix.netcom.com
Sun Sep 13 06:15:03 BST 1998

I think that the whole of this thread has been overly pesamistic.

The beauty of XML is in it's simplicity, it is the 'Mona Lisa' of the web.
As long as the underlying spec. is not fiddled with too much, it is bound to

Admittedly some of the spin off's of XML have been kludgy and model's of
murky ambiguity, but they will suffer the demise they deserve. The amazing
thing is that some of the standards have real potential. As other writers
have pointed out, when new standards come out there are bound to be several
false trails before the true path is discovered.

The place of XML for the storage of documents and data is surely assured,
but ap's based on these fundamentals are not 'sexy'. Sexy functions almost
by definition are functions that make the press say "wow'.

I believe we have such an 'ap' right now.

Having just finished 'hacking' the IE5 support for XML and the DOM, I am
amazed. Combined they can be used to retrieve any XML document and can
display it in almost any form we want on a (IE5 compatible, ah, there's the
rub!) browser.

I have not yet hacked the mozilla version of XML, but from what I hear it
will also give internet functionality to XML.

When this happens we can really expect XML to take off.

Several writers have expressed dissapointment that there are not more XML
'ap's' out there one year (actually only 7 months!!) after the release of
the recommendation. I think this shows how warped our perspective has
become, 7 month's is a very short time, and it took at least a year after
the release of Mosaic for the web to gain real momentum.

To write a good app.takes time, and I am actually suprised at how fast tings
are moving. There are several good programs out there, admittedly of the
'experimental' kind.

I personally now store all my doc's in XML format (I used to store them as
ASCII files), and use a simple script to convert them to HTML when I want to
read/display them. I am sure that hundreds of others are doing the same. I
wrote a simple program in VB that allows me to do this. It takes me about 30
secs to convert an XML file to HTML or RTF!.

As for the schema v.DTD controvesy, I think that DTD's are wonderful. They
allow me to make sure I have crossed all the 't's' and dotted all the 'i's'
so to speak. I use the MSXML parser to validate all my XML files.

I can well see the use of inheritable xml based schemas, but I don't need
them, and I'm willing to bet that 95% of those using XML don't need them

All I can say is "Don't get depressed, keep the faith!!". We may squabble on
this list, but we (or rather XML) are bound to prevail because our cause is
just!  (And also practicable, simple, elegant, and fulfils a very necessary


Frank Boumphrey

XML and style sheet info at Http://www.hypermedic.com/style/index.htm
Author: - Professional Style Sheets for HTML and XML http://www.wrox.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Murray-Rust <peter at ursus.demon.co.uk>
To: <xml-dev at ic.ac.uk>
Date: Friday, September 11, 1998 3:42 AM
Subject: XML is boring (was Re: coming clean with the SGML crowd)

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