Why I Hate Palmtops (was: Re: SGML, XML and SML)

rev-bob at gotc.com rev-bob at gotc.com
Fri Nov 26 11:42:18 GMT 1999

> At 09:42 AM 11/25/99 +0100, Paul Prescod wrote:
> >Cell phones must increasingly deal with structured information.
> >Therefore cell phones need to deal with XML.
> Agreed, but that doesn't answer the question of "Why XML?".  Why not ASN.1,
> SGML, SML, or a non-standard binary encoded XML that might be more suitable
> over small pipes?  The proxy on the last-hop to the cell phone can take
> care of bidirectional conversion, right?

True enough....

> IMHO, that answer only arrives once you realize that this structured
> information isn't restricted to travelling the client/server path and
> always going through that proxy.  What if I want to send a web page or
> vCard or whatever to another cell phone via IR or Bluetooth, where there's
> no proxy available?  That's where a well-deployed standard matters, and
> *that's* "Why XML?".

Okay, here's the crux of the issue where I'm concerned.  A vCard or some other small 
fragment, that I can grok in this context - fine.  However, I just can't see somebody 
reading a web page (or any other document of substantial size) on their cellphone - not 
even a fairly short page.  It's that whole visual space concern that kicked this thread off 
to begin with; I can read a paragraph or so on a palmtop-sized screen without much 
trouble, or I can look through a short list, but actual *reading*?  Not yet, and so far as I 
can tell, not in the next few years.  The problem is simply one of being unable to track 
complex thoughts on a screen smaller than a playing card and with worse readability.

 Rev. Robert L. Hood  | http://rev-bob.gotc.com/
  Get Off The Cross!  | http://www.gotc.com/

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