W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org > February 1997

Re: Loss of information going from SGML to XML

From: Dave Hollander <dmh@hpsgml.fc.hp.com>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 14:26:57 -0700
Message-Id: <199702212126.AA125280418@hpsgml.fc.hp.com>
Cc: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org

Thanks Bill!

Please, keep things in perspective. Exaggerations like "XML is not SGML
therefore it is no good" help no one. Lets not forget what, in my 
opinion is the real point, that XML is designed to increase the audience 
for SGML. The new audience has shown by their behavior that they are 
unwilling to make the commitment that full SGML requires.

Yet, HTML has shown that an audience is there. Hopefully XML will help 
those whose "expressive" needs have outgrown HTML or any other fixed 
tag-set language. And because it is a proper sub-set of SGML, XML instances
are instantly ISO-8879 compliant. All at a cost of *some* SGML users
doing a relatively (relative to may of the translations they already do)
simple transform.

BTW, during the ERB meetings I often asked the question: what will this
do to the expressive power?  I was willing to give up a whole lot more
that I had to.


PS. Here is Bill's text in 70 column format for those who do not
	have auto-wrap software.

: Bill Smith <Bill.Smith@eng.sun.com>
> Yes XML isn't full SGML but that is by design not accident. While we 
> have lost "expressive" power, like being able to omit tags, we have 
> something that itself is far simpler to express and will make it 
> possible for information delivered over the web to "express" itself. 
> This is what we should focus on not bemoaning the fact that "information" 
> is lost in a "down translation" from SGML.
> XML *is* SGML. No down translation required - as long as you stay 
> within the lines.
> If you can't live without the great intricacies of SGML, tar, gzip, and 
> ftp work quite well for delivering a wad of SGML over great distances. 
> Unfortunately, full-up SGML isn't particularly amenable to the Web and 
> that's why we're here. XML is designed to bring the benefits of SGML to 
> the Web in a manner that can be understood by mere mortals. This will 
> allow more information to be delivered in meaningful ways than is 
> possible with current web practice.
> I don't view this as information loss, but rather information gain. We 
> aren't down translating SGML, we're uptranslating the Web.
> Sorry to take up your time with this but I've been a bit frustratedby 
> this topic.
Received on Friday, 21 February 1997 16:35:24 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 20:25:07 UTC