[OT] XML design intent [was Re: What YAML engine do you use?]

Stephen Waterbury golux at comcast.net
Sat Jan 22 19:14:46 EST 2005

Fredrik Lundh wrote:
> Stephen Waterbury wrote:
>>The premise that XML had a coherent design intent
>>stetches my credulity beyond its elastic limit.
> the design goals are listed in section 1.1 of the specification.
> see tim bray's annotated spec for additional comments by one
> of the team members:
>     http://www.xml.com/axml/testaxml.htm
> (make sure to click on all (H)'s and (U)'s in that section for the
> full story).

Thanks, Fredrik, I hadn't seen that.  My credulity has been restored
to its original shape.  Whatever that was.  :)

However, now that I have direct access to the documented design
goals (intent) of XML, it's interesting to note that the intent
Steve Holden imputed to it earlier is not explicitly among them:

Steve Holden wrote:
> It seems to me the misunderstanding here is that XML was ever intended 
> to be generated directly by typing in a text editor. It was rather 
> intended (unless I'm mistaken) as a process-to-process data interchange 
> metalanguage that would be *human_readable*.

Not unless you interpret "XML shall support a wide variety of applications"
as "XML shall provide a process-to-process data interchange metalanguage".
It might have been a hidden agenda, but it certainly was not an
explicit design goal.

(The "human-readable" part is definitely there:
"6. XML documents should be human-legible and reasonably clear",
and Steve was also correct that generating XML directly by typing
in a text editor was definitely *not* a design intent.  ;)

> if you think that the XML 1.0 team didn't know what they were
> doing, you're seriously mistaken.  it's the post-1.0 standards that
> are problematic...

Agreed.  And many XML-based standards.

- Steve

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