Re: Will XML go beyond SGML Users?

On Tue, 01 Oct 1996 04:53:27 -0400, Paul Prescod
<papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca> wrote:

>At 05:44 PM 9/30/96 -0700, Ralph Ferris wrote:
>>You wrote:
>>>As I understood it, it was our goal that all browsers should support XML
>>>just as they do HTML. Since even Internet Explorer cannot open either RTF or
>>>Word files, 
>>Internet Explorer 3.0 can open any ActiveX enabled control, including Word.
>>Word (or Excel, or whatever) will then take over the entire client viewing
>>area, adding its own toolbar, i.e., there is seemless integration within the
>>original window. 
>But you must download the Active-X or buy the product to do this. Over a
>28.8 modem, a "Word Viewer" is going to take a while to download. Microsoft
>has explicitly chosen NOT to ship this with their product, so they obviously
>are NOT pushing Word's format (or RTF) as a
>Microsoft-shoves-it-down-your-throat-standard. Which is why I disagree with
>Charles that we could not achieve greater support for it.

In Windows 97, the browser will be the Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer).
URLs will be another "document type" (icon, for the lexically impaired) that you
click on. Whether you are looking at a directory view or at the content of a
document won't matter. The format of the document you click on won't matter much
because there'll be viewers for most all of them. In other words, URLs will be
like UNCs are today, just another way of addressing files. Word/RTF will be the
dominant document format just as it is in Win95 today. All they need to do is
compress it with JPEG to make it slim enough for modems, but the corporate
intranets that we are targeting aren't restricted to modem speeds.

But even if Microsoft wanted some "SGML-like" thing, they would just create
their own, add it to their software, and it would be a standard. They are on
this committee to monitor it and learn from it, not to adopt its results. This
doesn't make them bad people -- just smart businessmen. We should be equally
smart and define realistic objectives for ourselves.

>It's also worth noting that URLs are now recognized in
>>non-HTML documents (some mail systems support this feature as well). So Word
>>users do not need to convert their documents in order to post them to the
>>Web. Conversely, what user's think of as the browser has been de-coupled
>>from the formats it reads. An ActiveX control can be created to support any
>>document markup. So a new markup could be created and popularized, not by
>>creating a dedicated browser that supports it, but by supplying an ActiveX
>>control that supports it. XML could be introduced to the market in this way.
>If necessary. For all that Microsoft, Sun, Java tries to make components
>seem "native" native still seems more native. Native browser support would
>be better.

There is no such thing as a "native" file format for a browser unless it is
badly written. The URL chaser is just like an SGML entity manager. HTML, today,
is just the notation of the document entity. It doesn't have to remain so in the
future and probably won't.
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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