Will XML eat the web?

Adam M Donahue amd0978 at acf3.nyu.edu
Fri Jan 29 01:41:12 GMT 1999

> This gets down to the whole argument of what should XML be _primarily_ used for?
> The great majority of enterprise/e-commerce applications seem to want to use XML
> merely as an object protocol for use in returning query data and passing
> transactions.  The internet crowd wants to use XML for presentation content.

I think there's a third use for XML as an RPC format.  (See XML-RPC, for
example.)  But as to the Internet crowd wanting to use XML for
presentation content, I'm not sure what you mean.  Isn't XML's goal in
part to separate the presentation from the data.  It's HTML that's given
us so many browser incompatibility problems today as it is.  Certainly
XML+XSL (or CSS, or whatever) could be the best of both worlds, but I
don't think many Web designers want XML merely for its presentation's
sake.  A standardized HTML, perhaps, but XML should be more than that, and
I think even the most free-wheeling HTML "hacker" can see the benefits of
XML beyond merely standardizing presentation.

> Yes it may happen for reasons we cannot predict.  But I think the real problem
> here is that the DOM itself is just a tree based structure in and of itself.
> Databases rarely only model data that can be expressed in a tree, but rather model
> data that is a set of complex graphs which XML and the DOM is not geared towards
> (minus creative uses of XPointer).

Is there any work in this area?  Actually, is there work toward an XML
extension that would more tightly couple it with the graphs you suggest?


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