Do I need to use a validating parser?

Joshua E. Smith jesmith at
Wed May 5 04:09:39 BST 1999

>A couple of questions: How much syntax does a variable refrence take? What
>does a function call look like? I'm trying to determine how much you are
>actually building on the XML parser and how much you intend to do

This application is more of what would be typically called a "scripting
language" than a "programming language."  I know that's a fuzzy
distinction, but basically it means that you aren't going to be writing a
quicksort in this language.  It's a way to tie objects together to do
interesting things.  "Functions" and "Variables" don't really exist in this
language (well, variables do, but it isn't obvious from the way you write
programs that they do).

It's a little hard to explain.  Give me a few weeks to get the transition
to XML worked out, then I'll give y'all a peek at it.

>I don't think that Access dialog building is programming.

I wasn't referring to dialog building, I was referring to the query builder
which hides SQL from the access developer.  I know very successful Access
programmers who can't understand a lick of SQL, thanks to that very good
query tool.  That was my only point about Access.

> Real
>programmers, developing their own algorithms and interfaces will likely
>find any non-textual programming user interface to be an impediment.
>Delphi and Visual Basic have pretty decent text editors built in -- for a

Fair enough.  Those people aren't really my target audience.  I'm going for
web developers who understand HTML and want to dabble with something more

>I encourage you to design the user interface before focusing on the syntax
>of your markup language. If people like the user interface then the
>behind-the-scenes XML issues will be comparatively trivial. But if
>programmers hate the user interface then the XML part will become
>My experience is that XML editors are optimized for prose documents and
>are poor for most other stuff. They aren't ideal user interfaces for
>databases, programming languages, schemas etc.

Well, I'm hoping to avoid developing a user interface for developers at
all, instead relying on the XML editors to do the job for me (at least for
the first year or so).  So far, that doesn't look like such a long shot.  I
downloaded a handful of the early editors (XML Spy, XML Notepad, a neat
little demo of one written in Java who's name I forget, etc.), fed in a
mock-up of one of my programs cast in XML, and was pretty impressed with
what they could do.  And I haven't written a DTD yet!  (Some were *VERY*
clever about figuring out the implied DTD from the elements.)

-Joshua Smith

-Joshua Smith
 jesmith at

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