SML - a vote against

John Aldridge john.aldridge at
Tue Nov 30 13:58:28 GMT 1999

Here's my take on the SML debate...

XML has been designed to be flexible enough to cover a wide range of
application domains, and to be broadly compatible with some existing
practice in this arena.  In reaching this design, compromises had to be
reached between simplicity and this flexibility and compatibility.

We probably all have quibbles about the wisdom of some of the compromises
reached; but on the whole, I suggest that a good balance has been reached
between addressing the needs of a broad range of applications, and keeping
the standard simple enough to be managable.

There will certainly be many applications for which this full flexibility
is not required; and similarly many applications where compatibility is not
an issue.  The question is whether, for these applications, the penalties
of using XML as it stands are large enough to warrant not using it.

The benefit of a single standard is that we will all profit from a rapid
proliferation and deployment of tools which operate on information
conforming to this standard.  Every division in the standard dilutes this

The disadvantage is that applications have to carry the implementation
costs of features which they do not use.

In the end, I think this is a case where be benefits of a single standard
comfortably outweigh the costs.  Let's stick with the one we've got.

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