W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org > October 1996

Re: A28: syntax of markup declarations?

From: Len Bullard <cbullard@HiWAAY.net>
Date: Tue, 08 Oct 1996 07:27:54 -0500
Message-ID: <325A48CA.3391@HiWAAY.net>
To: lee@sq.com
CC: srn@techno.com, w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
lee@sq.com wrote:

> If XML is successful, it may well become an international standard.
> But note that HTML 2.0 is on the way to becoming an international standard;
> I am not sure that it has helped very much, although it was a great deal
> of work to get it tht far.

It helps.  It takes time.
> If you can convert from XML to SGML automatically and 100% reliably,
> amenability to SGML tools will always be only a step away.

All conversions are *a step away*.  It creates a separate market.
It creates separate and additional expense.  It does not provide 
anything that S-expressions or even BNF do not provide.  It is yet
another markup system.  Why?  
> In the mean-time, if we have a language that is significantly more widely
> implemented, and that has a much simpler and clearer specification, your
> clients will be happy they chose XML...

No they won't.  My clients have SGML.  They will ask "what is the 
advantage?"  I reply meekly "well, it can be implemented in a 
week by a CS undergrad."  They will say, "The work habits 
of the average CS grad are insignificant.  I already pay them
well and I have not problem with it taking two or three weeks 
if I can get a system improved, but not too far from my 
present course which has been chosen at some risk and some expense.
I already have SGML tools, SGML parsers, SGML expertise, and significant
of SGML data.  All I asked for was to get that on the Web 
*without conversion*.  You gave me a new system.  Next."
> I will comment on Tim & Michael's syntax separately -- I _do_ think it
> is a sensible approach.  We are not far away from a single unified syntax,
> using only element-style markup.  That is an admirable goal, and will be
> a great benefit.  It will also reduce the change of confusing XML and SGML
> document instances :-)

I understand the factored appeal of what is being suggested.  I think, 
like Dr. Newcomb, it is misguided.  Someone please list the advantages.
I see none.  Clearly distinguishing the schema from the data is a 
feature of SGML.  I want SGML to be easier; not to replaced.

Len Bullard
Lockheed Martin
Received on Tuesday, 8 October 1996 08:27:43 UTC

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