Use cases for XML failure (was Re: #2 Re: [SML] Whether to support Attribute or not?)

Gavin Thomas Nicol gtn at
Sun Nov 28 21:35:28 GMT 1999

> I was part of those battles too and I agree entirely with
> Michael.  DOM got the nasty-end of the stick because of
> arcane features of XML and others (i.e. namespace spec). 

I think that is mostly the nature of a supposedly 
application-independent API, which has to, by nature, be
everything to everyone, and as such, not be ideal for
any particular application. The DOM effort was about the
3rd or 4th document API design that I had a hand in, and
none of the other efforts had fewer problems, even though
one of them had a vastly different syntax and document model.
If the DOM was *slightly* worse, it was only because there
wasn't a shared understanding of what the underlying 
data/information model was, because of the differences in the
backgrounds of the DOM WG efforts (hmm. sounds like SML). 

The fact that there was even reasonable concensus is a 
great success in and of itself, and is a tribute to the 
DOM WG members and, not the least, the chair.

> SML is not about doing what XML *cannot*.  SML is about
> creating an ideal tool.  We are not asking people to cut
> steak with a fork so please let the knife and the fork
> lie side-by-side.

If you are *really* talking about creating an ideal tool,
I cannot see the rationale for taking XML as a starting 
point. Why not a binary format? Why not s-expressions?
Why not any of a myriad other things, like ASN.1? What is
to be gained by using angle brackets? Is it for "familiarity"?

FWIW, I still haven't seen a succint problem statement for 
SML that doesn't include a degree of XML reductionism. 
What are the problems it's *really* trying to address? I'd
be more than happy to help design a truly ideal tool for the
job, if that's really what your trying to do.

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