How XML Just Might Eat the Web Someday (was Re: Interesting Monday.)

da da at
Tue Feb 2 05:19:13 GMT 1999

Hi there,

Well, I've been off the list for a while in the middle of switching jobs.
But, oddly enough, some opportunities to use XML have come up at my new gig
as well.  Whether this is more because I've got a hammer and everything
looks like a nail or a reflection of the actual usefulness of XML remains
to be seen, but I have a feeling it's the latter.  One note regarding that:
I've downloaded gecko and it's great, it looks like it's going to do
exactly what I want to do with it.  Very cool.

I know the focus of this list isn't really interface stuff, but I can't
pass a thread with a title like that up without dropping in my $2E-2.  If
you go to and click on the one link there that
isn't a mailto, you'll find a whitepaper that I wrote about a year ago on
3D representations of XML and published under the aegis of the VRML
consortium.  I'm working with a designer right now on doing up an entire
personal site using this technology, so there will be a good demo soon, I
hope.  (It's been slowed down a lot by having a new job that I like and
living in the most amazing city on earth...sigh.)

But the basic, admittedly wacky and either ahead of it's time or
unimplementable in a scaleable way idea is to render links, to use 3D to
show the relationships between chunks of information.  You could see how
big a site is.  You could see where it you've been and where you can go.
You could make your own links.  I'm excited about the navigational
improvements it could make to the web in the short term, but the longer
term application that I'm even more excited about is for collaborative
document authoring.  The whitepaper isn't exactly a classic of technical
literature, but it does have most of the stuff I've been thinking about,
and soon there will be a demo.

I've got some reasons to think it might happen, eventually.  A number of
very knowledgeable folks from the web design, XML and VRML communities have
said they think it's pretty hot stuff, and at least one person who is
active on this list has told me that he tried to do what I'm trying to do
and it's impossible.  The former response has given me hope, but the latter
response has admittedly been more useful in keeping me motivated (which may
very well have been why that person wrote it, for all I know).


At 11:29 AM 2/1/99 +0100, Matthew Sergeant (EML) wrote:
>Boy, you people sure can write when something stirs you up... It's 10:10am
>and I've only just got through my backlog of XML-Dev mail...
>Well, as the person who introduced the topic "Will XML eat the web?", I feel
>I should just add some points of note. I thank everyone who has contributed
>to this topic though.

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