Letting well-formedness slip: was A milestone in XML

David Megginson david at megginson.com
Mon May 17 18:56:00 BST 1999

Jonathan Eisenzopf writes:

 > Of course, Matt's correct and I don't think we should back down on
 > pressing the issue. It does beg the question, what to do with older
 > parsers and XML files? Check the declaration before parsing or just
 > ignore and let it fail? As long as it's not built into the parser
 > one can easily handle the uppercase declarations.

(I'm not certain that it begs the question, but it certainly raises

Fortunately, there *are* no old versions of XML -- there's nothing but
XML 1.0 out there, and the people in the W3C's XML Activity have
(amazingly, for standards writers) resisted the very strong temptation
to fiddle with it for well over a year, now.

In other words, the problem is how to convert something that is *not*
XML (such as CDF, HTML 4.0, TeX, RTF, etc.) to XML.  Since CDF has
strong similarities to XML, a little Perl might do the trick, but it
is important to note that CDF is not XML, and since client-side push
is a double-plus-ungood-stock-price-sinking-dirty-nasty word, I'd be
surprised if anyone bothered to make it into XML now (people seldom
enjoy maintaining their failures).

Now, if there were an XML 1.1, an XML 2.0, etc., we'd have
version-management problems: it is hard to build a market on a spec
that is constantly changing.  Fortunately, there's nothing out there
but XML 1.0, and it turns out to be good enough, warts and all.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at megginson.com

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