Do SGML and XML co-exist?

Jon Bosak bosak at
Mon Nov 22 10:15:39 GMT 1999

[Len Bullard:]

| No.  It [generic markup] started earlier than that.  SGML hypertext
| systems with stylesheets were already on the market prior to 1990.
| Some systems had been being worked since ISO8879 was a draft.  Long
| before XML, the SGML community had debated it on comp-text-sgml.  The
| problem was not complexity but the inanity of the HTML working group.
| Hytime and DSSSL, yes, these are complex, but to be blunt, put all of
| the XML specs together, throw them on the floor, and see how loud a
| thump they make.
| Beware facile demonstrations of simplicity.  Bosak knows it was 
| a show piece and that once the work was underway, it would 
| fatten out.  It didn't matter.

Len is no doubt referring to the gimmick of tossing a copy of the
30-page XML spec into the first rows of an SGML audience without
killing anyone.  Credit for this wonderful piece of theater belongs to
Tim Bray, not me.

[Tim Bray:]

| It is to Jon Bosak's immense credit that he (like many of us) not only
| saw the need for simplification but (unlike anyone else) went and
| hounded the W3C until it became less trouble for them to give him his
| committee than to keep on saying SGML was irrelevant.

That is the most accurate description of my actual contribution that
has been written by anyone.

[Betty Harvey:]

| Personally, I give credit to Yuri Rubinsky, President of SoftQuad
| until his untimely death, to the birth of XML.

Me too.  He was obviously heading in this direction with SoftQuad
Panorama and his efforts to engage the Web community with "SGML on the
Web".  I would never have taken up the torch if Yuri had lived; I
would simply have kept following him.  I have felt throughout the XML
effort that I have just been trying to realize Yuri's vision.

| It does distress me that now that XML has become popular that the
| pioneers are forgotten, especially Yuri.  He was a man who impacted
| not only the web but people positively.  He was a real visionary.  I
| also believe he would be really pleased about the current XML efforts.

In general, I don't worry that the pioneers will be forgetten in the
end.  Eventually the historians will catch up with this and we shall
all just become footnotes in someone's doctoral dissertation.  Credit
will be given where it's due.

But I agree that it would be hard to understand Yuri's impact without
having seen him in action.


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