Handheld computers

Michael Champion mike.champion at softwareag-usa.com
Wed Nov 24 16:15:54 GMT 1999

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Prescod <paul at prescod.net>
To: <xml-dev at ic.ac.uk>
Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 1999 10:21 AM
Subject: Handheld computers

>  I do think that small devices will be at the centre of
> > computing in the next decade (and a mostly MS-free centre, to boot).
> The phrase that set of this hubub is vague enough that one could argue
> that it is already true.

And to nudge things back on-topic, will typical "post-PC devices" need XML
(broadly defined) support?  Will they come with XML 1.0 parsers?  Are they
too memory or CPU constrained to fully utilize XML 1.0? Would having
something like SML standardized improve the chances for "XML-like" tools
being used on Post-PC devices?

There seem to be a range of points of view:

1 - Yes, Post-PD Devices need something like SML because they *will* process
(not just display) data and every byte/cycle is precious on such limited
devices.  If the XML community does not help standardize a simplified subset
of XML, then the vendors will go off in their own directions and it will be

2 - Yes, but XML 1.0 is perfectly well suited for Post-PC devices because
it's not really all that bloated and/or the devices will soon have all the
power that an XML 1.0 processor would need.  Bifurcating the XML standard
would lead to chaos.

3 - No, the question is moot.  Just because some these devices support
specialized XML-based languages such as WML doesn't mean that the devices
themselves will need more generalized XML tools; it will all be done on the
server side where there is power to spare.  SML is pointless, and Don Park
will be eating paper for breakfast when he comes to his senses.

I personally lean toward 1), but could be persuaded of 2 ... but it's going
to be hard to convince me that CDATA sections and external parsed entities
are anything better than a necessary evil on a handheld! I think 3) is wrong
for the future (although it is clearly today's reality) because historically
devices get "smarter", and today's display-only WML phones will evolve
toward more intelligent message-processing devices.


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