Re: Capitalizing on HTML (was Re: equivalent power in SGML and XML)

On Wed, 18 Sep 1996 20:07:42 -0700, bosak@atlantic-83.Eng.Sun.COM (Jon Bosak)

>Bob's initial impression was the correct one.  As our
>discussion of end-tag omission makes clear, size optimization is *not*
>a priority for XML.
Good. I never liked that idea I think verbosity is an acceptable trade-off to
obtain clarity.

The reason I attempted a concise summary of my understanding of the
principles-modulo-current-apparent-consensus was because ambiguous and
contradictory (to me, at least) "principles" were being used as reasons to
support or reject various proposals.

Bob has raised another interesting point. I assumed (item #2 in my corrected
summary, below) that encouraging easy tool-building is a major goal of XML. Bob
says it will never happen, that SGML tools and HTML tools are the only ones
we'll ever see. Is he right? We should decide ASAP if that goal is unrealistic,
as it  has a major effect on the language design. (Indeed, it is virtually the
only reason to have XML, if I understand things correctly.)

There is a corollary to that point as well: what is our assumption regarding
whether XML creation will be done with SGML and XML tools, or with ordinary text
editors? To put it another way, is it ok for XML to be inconvenient to create
"by hand" as long as it is reasonably possible to do so? (Jon?)

Unofficial (but apparently accurate) Summary of XML Design Principles

The objective of XML is a lean-and-mean dialect of SGML that will: 

1. serve as a better electronic delivery target for SGML processors than HTML
currently is

2. be easier to implement tools for because:
a) only one (or a few) character sets are supported
b) the instance can be parsed (but not validated) without reference to a  DTD
c) attributes can be validated, parsed, and defaulted without reference to a
_full_ DTD
d)tools for full SGML can easily generate and accept XML without loss of EE-ESIS

Charles F. Goldfarb * Information Management Consulting * +1(408)867-5553
           13075 Paramount Drive * Saratoga CA 95070 * USA
  International Standards Editor * ISO 8879 SGML * ISO/IEC 10744 HyTime
 Prentice-Hall Series Editor * CFG Series on Open Information Management

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