A Line in the Declarative Syntax Sand(Was: XML complexity, namespaces (was WG))

Rick Jelliffe ricko at allette.com.au
Tue Mar 30 05:01:57 BST 1999

From: David Megginson <david at megginson.com>

>What I did say is that there's not a practical difference among the
>different alternatives in XML and SGML for expressing this
>information, and probably not enough to justify the parallel
>maintenance of the two as discrete standards.

I don't agree because

1) XML is not a standard, because W3C is not an open process
but a friendly conspiracy of vendors and boffins who must kowtow
to Microsoft and TBL (not to say that these are not excellent

2) XML and SGML have fundamentally different application areas driving

* SGML is a compiler compiler where the central technical question is
"people want markup in lots of different formats; how can we make a
to detect the structure in as many of their formats as possible?" If you
shortrefs you must have maps and you must have entities and you must
minimization: they are justifiable because SGML is a parser technologym
an information-modeling technology.

* XML just expands the butt of SGML: the fact that there are tree/graph
in marked-up data. Now, I admit that butt-expansion is a natural
function of
time: SGML's default delimiters (as used in HTML and SGML at many
are now familiar enough that there is also a question "people want
markup in
SGML-delimiter format: how can we make a (simple) parser that detects
structure in just that?"

Rick Jelliffe

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