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Re: Optional features considered harmful

From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 1996 06:54:24 +0000
Message-Id: <3.0b33.32.19961024065322.006bd430@pop.intergate.bc.ca>
To: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
At 11:34 AM 24/10/96 +0000, James Clark wrote:
>At 23:57 23/10/96 +0000, Tim Bray wrote:
>>1. external text entities are a basic necessity for authoring ...

>I would like to point that at least one person on the ERB (me) passionately
>believes that this viewpoint is totally misguided...
>... it is certainly possible to build a fine authoring
>environment without any use of external text entities.

James is correct; it is certainly possible to do this.  But SGML provides
a built-in, standard, nonproprietary way to go about it.  The way I sell
SGML in the corporate world is:

SGML gives you:
 1. a way to model the structure of your documents, and
 2. a way to control the authoring so they come out right, and
 3. a way to modularize documents for re-use and management, and
 4. ALL OF THIS IS STANDARDIZED AND NON-PROPRIETARY

It seems to me that if XML loses text entities, then #4 no longer applies
to #3.  I don't know - is this a fair price to pay for making XML 
lightweight and easy to adopt?  At the same time, James is correct that it 
is unreasonable and wrong to expect render-mostly network browsers to use 
the SGML transclude-and-parse semantics.  Is there an option-free way to
reconcile our goals?

Cheers, Tim Bray
tbray@textuality.com http://www.textuality.com/ +1-604-488-1167
Received on Thursday, 24 October 1996 09:58:22 UTC

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