FW: Namespaces and DTDs

len bullard cbullard at hiwaay.net
Tue Mar 16 01:28:41 GMT 1999

Clark Evans wrote:
> Well.  I thought that I had completely failed, so I left.
> Then, about two weeks later I went over to visit, (hadn't
> received any more pleas for HTML help...) and I found her
> using an editor to hand create the HTML! I was a bit
> stunned.   She said writing HTML in an editor directly
> was "easier".  She quickly added that composer is good
> too, but only to "find what I want".  She uses it to
> 'draw' what she wants, looks at the 'view source' and
> then ALT-TABBS over to the editor to do the 'real' work.

That is pretty much the way it went for SGML editors too 
until the file got very big or one dropped a right quotation 
in a literal.  Then, thank Charles for the original cheap 
SGML parser which was rewritten as SGMLS.  Some say it 
wasn't great code, but it was fast and it found the tagging 

Also observed, people think HTML is great and 
for what we use for, the rendering pass, it is in much the 
same way its antecedents like DSR were.  Yes, lord love a 
duck, we edited DSR by hand too.  Still, when we got 
to the complex content in some of the systems which used 
stylesheets instead (circa 1986 to 93), we found people 
had a much easier time with content tagging, eg, 


because they could look at the markup and knew precisely 
what was there. A RPSTL (parts table) was easy to 
pick out in the mass of tags. The same was true of the editors which 
were context sensitive.  That XML is replicating the SGML 
experience in the main is not surprising.  That SGML 
is slightly easier to edit isn't surprising either since 
some of the features of SGML that went away in XML, 
eg, minimization, were editing features.  Other features 
such as quantities needed in the days of precious RAM 
aren't missed as much.

For that reason, many of us writing editors for applications 
to use HTML or other markup even when using a relational system 
for storage are writing node editors instead of hardwired 
tag stackers.  Because we can use tables to store meta-properties, 
this is easy to do.


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