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



> 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.)

I think we should expect XML browsers quickly, but should not depend on XML
editors. Since an XML browser is not much harder to write than an HTML browser,
we can probably expect Microsoft and Spyglass at least to write them quickly.

> 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?)

If it were not for the HTML experience, I might not think that Jane Notepad
is worth supporting. But vi/emacs/notepad/hotdog/bbedit is still the editor 
of choice for HTML and if we want to win over that crowd, XML should be at 
least as easy to write by hand (with a simple DTD). 

If the target user community had demonstrably given up hand-coding, we could 
write a language that makes that process arduous.  But right now, I think that 
doing so would delay XML's acceptance by end users and vendors. If XML code
looks too verbose, the major browser vendors may even shun it on the 
presumption that the users would not embrace it. In other words, XML might
be declared DOA (by the Vendors that Be) before the editing tools are 
even created!

That doesn't mean that we have to support markup minimization options. I
think that getting rid of them makes hand-coding easier and less 
error-prone. On the other hand, getting rid of mixed content would make 
hand-coding more difficult and probably more error prone than a language 
that allows mixed content but has simple RS/RE rules.

 Paul Prescod


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