Re: XML, HTML, SGML, life, the universe, and everything

>At a deep level, XML is *nothing new* - people 
> have been building successful SGML apps for years and making a point of
> leaving out minimization and other tricky stuff.  We're just writing down
> a standard way to do this. 

This is my hope as part of an SGML consultancy that writes a lot of DTDs 
and a few apps.  We almost never use LINK, CONCUR, SUBDOC, exceptions, 
#CURRENT, CONREF, etc. now. (Not because we don't like them, or don't 
understand then, but because we almost never NEED them for real life 
applications.)  We do use parameter entities heavily (both kinds) and 
despair about RS/RE behavior and the prohibition against the same value in 
two Declared value list. We don't want this to be "new" either, we hope it 
will be codified standard practice.  Because unless it is codified as well 
as usual, no one will write applications for/in/using it.
> 2. Why the HTML Empty Tag Trick? ...I think that Lee is correct; this
> is a political move, and one which I approve of 100%.  

Seconded.  I don't like this solution much, but I have racked for a 
better one and drawn blank.  XML must be easily within the reach of 
existing tools (small, simple, easy, or clearly superior modes only)
or no one will write applications for/in/using it.

(And if the tools don't accommodate this fast enough, even I could 
write a pre/post processor to put them in and take them out with one hand 
tied behind my back.  And so could you.  Not a good solution, but a fine 

> 3. XML and existing SGML tools ... Existing SGML tools
> can't write XML until they can write empty tags as <e/>.  <hint>I suspect 
> that the SGML vendors of the world could, if they started today, be 
> demonstrating this at SGML'96</hint>.
Pavlov's dogs have nothing on me.  As a Co-Chair of SGML'96 may I urge...
Being able to demo this, even on a partly smoke-and-mirrors basis would 
be fantastic!  Obviously smaller products with less ISO 9000 and 
departmental infrastructure have a better change of hacking this in a 
week, but...  Lee, Chris, Gavin, anybody?

> XML is a subset of SGML in spirit and in fact, and
> XML is designed so that the adjustments required in existing SGML tools
> are trivial.  

This needs to be true.  Period.

--Debbie Lapeyre