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Re: Optional features considered harmful



At 12:00 PM 10/24/96 EDT, lee@sq.com wrote:

>Well, I'm not on the ERB, but I do not believe that external text entities
>are essential for authoring.

I don't think anybody says SGML external text entities are essential
for authoring.  A method for modular construction of documents *is*
essential for authoring, and SGML text entities provide a portable,
vendor-independent method for doing this.  Lots of other non-portable,
proprietary methods could (and have been) thought of ("Master Document
View", anyone?).

>That there are people who rely on them shows how poor our SGML tools are
>right now, I suppose.  A system like Astoria is (at least in principle --
>I haven't used Astoria) far better for authoring.  Or should be.

1. authoring tools could indeed be better
2. once they stop having to worry about a lot of the hard stuff we're 
   cutting out of SGML, then they can focus more attention on basic 
   things like modular document construction
3. last time I saw Astoria was a year ago, but I thought their approach
   [component management at the *element* level] was brutally difficult
   to accomplish and didn't offer any advantages over a slick 
   entity-management system.

Cheers, Tim Bray
tbray@textuality.com http://www.textuality.com/ +1-604-488-1167