Rick Jelliffe ricko at allette.com.au
Fri Nov 12 06:38:29 GMT 1999

From: James Robertson <jamesr at steptwo.com.au> 

>An open letter to Rick Jelliffe,
>However, I don't think you expected
>it to be the catalyst for just such
>a "cut down" proposal just hours later!
Yes, in the future everyone will be on the XML WG for
fifteen minutes. 

Let us not forget that LISP S-expressions (parenthesis)
have been around for 35 years; they are simple and can be
used for markup, but they didn't take off for that use.  
And Borenstein has that RFC on a markup language that 
is simpler than XML and just used elements: it has been 
around for ages and has gone nowhere for documents. 

I think the internationalization in XML is one of the major reasons
larger companies like it: it provides an integration 
path from current encodings to Unicode--people who
think it is now time to have only UTF-8 have their heads 
in the sand: so we need encoding headers & NCRs & 
attributes (to support language) as a minimum requirement
for i18n IMHO. 

If there is a strong need for a simpler markup language,
I think it needs to target a particular issue in which XML
is weak: difficulty of implementation just isn't one of them.
Who are these poor implementers of parsers we need to be
so concerned about: IBM? Sun?  Microsoft? James Clark 
has not conspicuously favoured simple software projects.

In what way is it simpler to make up a new markup language, 
document it, write a parser and API for it, compared to using
XP or one of the Java parsers?  The area where there is scope
for a new markup language is for large tables of fielded data
in which every field is the same: now I know that compression
takes care of this really, but some people still freak out when they 
see markup: *but* there is a recent RFC  this month on such
a language.  It is a nice language, but if you compare it to XML
you can see the maturity of the SGML/XML community
in comparison.

The debate about a simpler XML is just a waste of time.
Where are the people debating about a simpler XML Schema
proposal!  That is something where people might have some
impact?  Anders and Len are doing something useful bringing
up these schema issues. With all respect, but I hope that people
who want SML should move to SML-DEV: I already get over
200 emails a day. Jokes are welcome but not farces.

Rick Jelliffe

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