On Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 04:17, Jakob Voss <jakob.v...@gbv.de> wrote:
> But all the flaws of XML can be traced back to SGML which is why we now use
> JSON despite all of its limitations.

Hmm, this is wrong on so many levels. First, SGML was pretty darn good
for its *purpose*, but it was a geeks dream and pretty scary for
anyone who hacked at it not fully getting it (like most normal
developers). As with many things where the learning curve is steep, it
fell into the "not good for normal consumption" category and they
(well, people who cared, and made decisions about the web) were
"forced" to make XML. But JSON? Are you sure you've got this figured
out? JSON as a object serializing format is good for a number of
things (small footprint, embedded type, etc.), but sucks for most
information management tasks.

However, I'd like to add here that I happen to love XML, even from an
integration perspective, but maybe that stems from understanding all
those tedious bits no one really cares about about it, like id(s) and
refid(s) (and all the indexing goodness that comes from it), canonical
datasets, character sets and Unicode, all that schema craziness
(including Schematron and RelaxNG), XPath and XQuery (and all the
sub-standards), XSLT and so on. I love it all, and not because of the
generic simplicity itself (simple in the default mode of operation, I
might add), but because of a) modeling advantages, b)
cross-environment language and schema support, and c) ease of
creation. (I don't like how easy well-formedness breaks, though. That

But I mention all this for a specific reason ; MARCXML is the work of
the devil! There's a certain dedication needed for "doing it right",
by paying attention in XML class, and play well with your playmates.
This is how you build a community and understanding around standards;
the standards themselves are not enough. The library world did nothing
of the kind ;

The flaws of XML can most likely be traced back to people not playing
well with playmates, and not the format itself.

> May brother Ted Nelson enlighten all of
> us - he not only hates XML [1] and similar formats but also  proposed an
> alternative way to structure information even before the invention of
> hierarchical file systems and operating systems [2].

Bah. For someone who don't see the SGML -> XML -> HTML transgression
as an inherited and more rigid structure (or, by popular language,
more schematic) as a document model as a good thing, I'm not
impressed. Any implied structure can be criticized, including pretty
much any corner of Xanadu as well. (I mean, seriously; taking
hypermedia one step closer to a file system does *not* solve problems
with the paper-based document model of HTTP, it just shifts the focus)

> In his vision of Xanadu
> every piece of published information had a unique ID that was reused
> everytimes the publication was referenced - which would solve our problem.

*Having* an identifier doesn't mean that identifier is a *good* one,
nor that it solves your problem. There's plenty of systems out there
where everything has an identifier (and, if you knew XML deeper,
you'll find identification models as well in there, but people don't
use them because the early onset of XML didn't understand nor need
them). Have a look at the failed XLink brooha for something that
worked and filled the niche, but people didn't get nor did tool-makers
see the point of implementation, and the thing died a premature death.
The current model of document structure and XQuery is somewhat of an
alternative, but people are also switching to CSS3 styles as well. The
thing is, just because you've got persistence in a system of
identifiers, it does not follow that the information is persisted; the
problem of change is *not* solved in neither systems, and so we work
with the one we got and make the best of it.

One thing I always found intriguing about librarians were their
commitment to persistent URIs for information resources, and use of
303 if need be (although I see this mindset dwindling). I think you're
the only ones in the entire world who gives a monkeys bottom about
these issues, as the rest of the world simply use Google as a
resolver. I can see where this is going. :)


 Project Wrangler, SOA, Information Alchemist, UX, RESTafarian, Topic Maps
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