Oedipus XML (was Re: Namespaces and DTDs)

David Megginson david at megginson.com
Thu Mar 11 16:06:16 GMT 1999

len bullard writes:

 > Jarle Stabell wrote:
 > > 
 > > Richard Goerwitz  wrote:
 > > > (Simplicity _was_ one of XML's primary goals back in the dark ages last
 > > > February.)
 > > 
 > > It seems to me that the SGML compatibility requirement killed simplicity.
 > > (And gave a very confusing and hard-to-learn vocabulary)
 > Or its inventors have discovered that assuming the mission of an
 > existing mature standard without acknowledging the complexity of
 > that mission leads to the same or worse complexity in the
 > invention.

XML has introduced some nasty new complexities, but many of those
relate to providing proper Unicode support, and SGML would have had to
deal with them anyway.  (There were, of course, a couple of mistakes
that added to the complexity, especially relating to entities and
external subsets.)

Speaking as both a parser writer and an application writer, I am
confortable writing that XML is significantly simpler to support in
enterprise-level implementations than full SGML, and that I have not
actually yet really missed any of the SGML features excluded from

To be fair, I am talking only about the core specs -- I am comparing
ISO 8879 to the XML 1.0 REC, and am leaving out the peripheral
standards on both sides.  A comparison of HyTime to XLink, XPointer,
and Namespaces, of DSSSL to XSL, or of Topic Maps to RDF would be an
interesting but separate exercise.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at megginson.com

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