[XML-SIG] Re: Yet another stupid XML question

Fredrik Lundh fredrik@pythonware.com
Fri, 8 May 1998 13:47:45 +0200

>It's beginning to look as though XML is going to lead a lot of people 
>into SGML. I see companies that should have picked up SGML years ago
>now beginning to understand the point of XML. Many of them will of
>course stay with XML, but many are also better served by SGML.

Sounds reasonable.  It's the usual problem: at first, you think you
think your problem is trivial, and that the 500-page ISO specification
is far too complicated (and since it's from the eighties, it's probably
obsolete anyway), so you go for an ad-hoc solution.  When you've
added enough requirements to your application, you end up with some-
thing that is incredibly messy, extremely complicated, and doesn't
really work...   I've seen it over and over again, with SGML, various
2D and 3D graphics standards, image file formats, etc. etc.

At least this keeps this industry going.   Things like Python, XML,
Lisp, and Java makes things too easy (in a recent case, we spent
more time discussing the contract than on designing, writing,
and testing the program...).

>> I've even seen people talking about writing programs in XML ;-)
>There are a couple of applications that generate stub code from
>XML files already.

Sure.  Opal uses XML to store project descriptions, UI designs, and
structured Python code.  Among other things.  But the semantics
are defined by editors and code generators.  XML is just a syntax (1),
and we could pickle everything instead.

>IMHO that's sensible although full programming would of course
>be ...uhmm... somewhat awkward.

Well, I still do most of my programming in ASCII ;-)

Cheers /F

1) see