Feeling good about SML

Hunter, David dhunter at Mobility.com
Mon Nov 22 15:27:11 GMT 1999

From: Don Park [mailto:donpark at docuverse.com]
Sent: Monday, November 22, 1999 1:27 AM
> >Hmm... in the part of the real world where I live, there seem
> >relatively few impediments to the understanding, implementation,
> >processing, and use of XML.  Just going on the evidence of 
> what I see. -Tim
> Maybe we live in different worlds.  Based on experience,
> companies starting to adopt XML typically hire XML consultants
> to design their systems.  Most of them are not confident that
> they know all the details of XML and thus are compelled to use
> outside help.  The problem is that once the consultant is done,
> the companies do not have the expertise to maintain and extend
> the design.  This is quite different from the way HTML has been
> adopted and used.  People started using HTML immediately.

I would argue that this isn't a problem with XML, but with the scenario
you've just described, and probably mostly because of the way XML was hyped,
vs. the way HTML was hyped.  ("It can do anything" for XML, which sounds
more complex, vs. "Anyone can do it" for HTML.)

I may not be a Tim Bray, but I had no problems using XML in my applications
either.  Most of my XML usage has been exactly what people are describing
for SML; no PIs, external entities, DTDs/Schemas, etc.  Much of it is just
simple elements and text.  The fact that I'm using an XML parser, instead of
an SML parser, has never hindered me.  The fact that I can call my markup
language "XML", instead of something else, has only benefited me.

For this reason, I still follow the "if you don't need it, JUST DON'T USE
IT" philosophy on this debate.  It's true, I'm a consultant, not a
Joe-Clueless-User.  But I don't think XML was designed for Joe-Clueless-User
- it was designed to exchange meaningful information, most of the time from
software to software.  (If SML is targeted toward Joe-C-U, I don't think it
will fly in that direction either.  The type of information Joey wants to
convey is more effectively done in HTML/XHTML.)

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