[SML] Without attrs, you don't need empty elements...

rev-bob at gotc.com rev-bob at gotc.com
Tue Nov 30 14:50:17 GMT 1999

> Maybe I'm just slow on the uptake, but I suddenly realized that if SML
> omits attributes, there's not likely to be a need for empty elements.
> (Scan your favorite XML sources and see how often there are empty elements
> with *no* attributes.)

With XHTML, you've got a few - BR and HR spring to mind.  Both can have attributes, 
but neither must.
While I'm thinking about it, it seems to me that the SML proposal's aim has been shifted 
dramatically, and nobody really seems to have noticed.  The original argument was that 
XML is too massive and too complex a specification, so we needed something smaller 
that people could pick up on more quickly.  (IIRC, an analogy was drawn between how 
people have learned HTML by skimming source code vs. how hard XML supposedly is 
to learn by the same method; SML was to hit closer to the HTML learning curve.)  
Granted, I think this "mini-XML" is better handled by splitting the docs into Basic, 
Intermediate, and Advanced concepts instead of writing new software, but I still see the 
appeal.  XML is a lot to tackle all at once, so simplify it a bit to let people pick it up more 
easily - fine.

All of a sudden, we're forgetting the *people* altogether and trying to see how simple we 
can make the *parser* - "do we really *need* to support Unicode, do we need to 
support decimal *and* hex, and how about throwing elements out the window while 
we're at it?"  Doesn't this miss the whole point of simplifying the language so newbies 
can climb on board easier?  I don't mind if the aim has been changed, but I don't think it 
should be changed without some sort of announcement to that effect.

If you want something that people can learn easily, the current branches of the SML 
discussion are *FAR* off-target.  If you want a parser that'll fit in a keychain, you'll have 
to ditch the concept of easy buy-in for Joe Average.  All I'm sayin' is, pick a story and 
stick to it.

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

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