XML complexity, namespaces (was WG)

Paul Prescod paul at prescod.net
Sun Mar 21 04:10:14 GMT 1999

Marcelo Cantos wrote:
> The perceived complexity of SGML is not dependent on how complex it is
> to implement an SGML parser, since one already exists.  What matters
> is how complex it is to use.  If one were to insist on considering the
> underlying technology in determining the complexity one would be
> forced to concede that a hello world program written in C is
> enormously complex since it involves compilers, file systems, advanced
> virtual memory architectures, windowing systems, possibly network
> based windowing protocols such as X, virtual machines, OS kernels and
> much, much more, in order to convert the contents of a C source file
> into a pattern of light and dark phosphors on a CRT.

Thank you Marcelo. You've said it wonderfully.

I also want to to point out that I am not excusing SGML's syntactic
complexity nor arguing that it was a good thing. From a PR perspective
alone it was a disaster. If I hadn't had problems to solve that only SGML
could solve I would probably have run away after reading the specification
myself. After all, I'm the guy who avoids Perl because of its same
syntactic complexity and context sensitivity.

I just reject the argument that it was difficult ("inctractable") to
*use*. You fired up Emacs and SP and it was about as difficult to type and
process as XML. That makes me wonder: perhaps there is an Emacs mode that
will make Perl as easy to read as Python.

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself

"Perpetually obsolescing and thus losing all data and programs every 10
years (the current pattern) is no way to run an information economy or
a civilization." - Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog

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