XML complexity, namespaces (was WG)
david at megginson.com
Tue Mar 23 11:15:16 GMT 1999
Marcus Carr writes:
> No question - it would be better if there was a single standard,
> but the demise of SGML should be natural, driven by nothing other
> than natural attrition.
I agree, and in fact, it's not really a question of demise at all --
XML is just another iteration of SGML, and SGML is still the
International Standard that provides its foundation.
Everything that we learned in SGML is there in XML, and all the
careful thought and person years of work from the Charles Goldfarb and
the other members of the ISO subcommittees is the fundamental reason
for XML's success. Essentially, the W3C just did what ISO was too
slow at doing, and gave SGML a proper 12-year review; without the ISO
baggage and the emotional attachment to the minutiae of ISO 8879:1986
esoterica, the W3C's SGML ERB cum XML WG was able to wield a sharp
knife and cut away a lot of fat (though still not all of it).
Very soon, I expect that ISO 8879 will pass the flag to XML and move
to a legacy position (no one will be implementing new systems that use
it), but that won't happen until the rest of the XML enterprise-level
software support stabilises. Even then, there will be major SGML
systems running for decades -- it is a credit to both the SGML and XML
designers and cross-translation between SGML and XML for import/export
is trivially simple, and that there will be few interop problems.
As for standards bodies, I don't know. Perhaps XML will eventually
migrate to an Internation Standards body of some sort -- who knows if
the W3C will even exist in five years? -- or (and this might be
preferable) the torch will pass to a new, better-constituted body that
takes over both the W3C and IETF standards.
All the best,
David Megginson david at megginson.com
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