Alternatives to browsers (was Re: Alternatives to the W3C)

Francis Norton francis at
Wed Jan 19 17:48:52 GMT 2000

John Aldridge wrote:
> At 10:14 19/01/00 -0000, Miles Sabin <msabin at> wrote:
> >Remember that my original question was, 'Why is _application_
> >specific_ markup preferable to an _application_specific_ binary
> >wire protocol'.
> It's better because (for example) I can write an _application specific_
> XSLT stylesheet without having to re-invent all the parsing, pattern
> matching and other stuff done by the generic tools.

It's also way better for the kind of business I do, which involves
building web-facing, cross-platform components (for We'll
typically be transacting application-specific data with components
written by other people, from other companies, in other languages, on
other platforms. "Er, which byte first did you want those integers?". I
used to allow between a third and a half of the development time for
sorting this out. The first time I read about XML I knew we needed it.
When we finally agreed with a component partner to use XML buffers,
specified (manually) by a DCD schema, the data parsed correctly first

Naturally this was promptly followed by us being given dumps of the
entire partner data model - designed without the help of any known
design principle - to extract data from. "It's XML, it must be simple!".
Tried asking for a schema but we knew that was ridiculous. Ended up
pre-processing it with XSLT (thanks, Mike Kay and James Clarke!) which
demonstrates another advantage of app-specific XML - the process would
have been even nastier and far slower with comma delimited, which was
the original dump format.


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