Feeler for SML (Simple Markup Language)

Steven Champeon schampeo at hesketh.com
Tue Nov 16 15:02:20 GMT 1999

On Mon, 15 Nov 1999, Eric Bohlman wrote:
> On Mon, 15 Nov 1999, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
> > Try explaining this glitch to people who don't understand XML well enough
> > to understand what an 'external entity' is a few hundred times, and perhaps
> > your opinion of its importance will change.  The guy who used '&mycompany;'
> > may know what it means, but the lucky troubleshooter on the other end may
> > well not know - and probably shouldn't have to know.
> > 
> > We're probably stuck with the mess, but unfortunately it's a very big deal
> > to certain classes of users, particularly those who'd like XML application
> > to process XML documents without a lot of oversight about 'what XML really
> > is'.
> Whoa there!  This is starting to remind me of some of the flamewars on
> comp.lang.perl.misc over whether it's reasonable to expect a programmer to
> RTFM!  If a particular wireless protocol really does need to be usable by
> script kiddies [1], then the solution, to the extent that one is possible,
> is to hide all the details in an application-specific API.

I guess what bothers me a bit about this whole discussion is the implicit
assumption that it's somehow *bad* to use abstraction to hide the details;
that it's somehow a mark of weakness to want to be able to do:

 $doc = new XML::Document($url);
 $doc->transform($stylesheet, $ENV{'HTTP_USER_AGENT'});
 print $doc;
 # or whatever

It's been almost two years since I was part of this list, and it's odd to 
come back to it only to find the same endless discussions of whether or
not XML should be easy. Of course it should. It doesn't harm anyone if the
tools are abstracted to the point of usability, does it?

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