Re: SERIOUS concerns about implementation
Michael Sperberg-McQueen wrote:
> On Thu, 20 Feb 1997 06:35:10 -0500 Peter Murray-Rust said:
> >If you install Panorama there is a directory called catalog, with about
> >35 files which are a mixture of popular *.dtd and *.ent.
> >EVERY SINGLE FILE WILL BREAK XML UNLESS THE SYNTAX IS CHANGED.
> I'm sorry to see members of the WG taken by surprise on this topic.
> The preparation of XML-compatible versions of these files is (a) not
> hard, and (b) something that need be done only once. It seems to me a
> very small price indeed to pay for the simplifications we get in
> declaration syntax and entity handling.
Those will have to be explained to an existing user base who
possess some rather expensive tools and substantial SGML legacy.
All they actually want is an SGML browser and database tools
for the Internet.
> Is there a reason to revisit the decisions?
It is a sideways compatibility issue. Moving to XML is not an upgrade
to SGML. It is a crab walk into a different standard, language and
So, deciding to do it raises serious issue of maintenance and tools.
changes, unless explained with hefty benefits, will result in the
of XML by some users. The problem is that the early adopters of XML
will likely come from the SGML community who have an immediate need.
Typically, I've seen this problem met by freeware for conversion.
From VRML 1.0 to 2.0, many syntax changes occurred that looked
gratuitous. SGI, Sony, and some editor vendors responded with
automatic conversion routines. Mileage varies. The difference
in this situation is the size of the legacy to be considered, and the
impact on the existing base of tools.
I am not surprised. But, unless met with explanations that
are the changes are practical and beneficial, there will be some serious
raised by the SGML user community. Newbies won't care. This will
be hard where the nature of the changes or the accruing benefits
are either esoteric or so technical the audience gives up and looks