What is XML for?

Paul Prescod paul at prescod.net
Fri Jan 29 18:13:11 GMT 1999

David Megginson wrote:
> Why would you be disappointed if you were following best practice?
> This is *exactly* the right way to use XML, at least in the data
> world.  XML is designed to be an exchange format that allows different
> systems to talk to each other; it does not dictate how those systems
> should deal with the information internally.

I've noticed a very unfortunate trend among my customers. They want to
replace relational databases with XML. They want to replace purpose-built
query languages with XSL. They want to replace object models and UML with
DTDs and "XML Schemas". People are also talking about using the DOM as the
interface to data of all sorts. This trend is very worrisome and will
likely lead to a backlash against XML.

I'm working in the opposite direction. I wonder: 

 * Isn't OQL pretty close to an XML query language?

 * Aren't STEP and ODL pretty close to being XML object model schema

 * Wouldn't it be nice to have more formal mechanisms for characterizing
languages (like XQL, XPointer, URLs, JavaScript) that do NOT use
angle-bracket syntax?

Another worrisome trend is that people creating the XML standards would
rather invent rather than learn about things that already exist.
"NI at theW3C" syndrome?

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself

Don't you know that the smart bombs are so clever, they only kill 
bad people."
	- http://www.boingo.com/lyrics/WarAgain.html

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