in reply to is XML too hard?

XML is just a way to organize data. And they sell (IBM) to us like a universal format, that will work for everything.

Well, I respec XML, but I don't think that is useful, since they don't keep it simple (KISS). Yes, to be universal, need to be simple. This is why we talk in english in other countrys, not latin or esperanto (yes the synthetic and dead language). In other words, XML is like esperanto. Is soo like it, just think, speranto was created based in something that was already there and famous, latin, XML was created based in HTML. But speranto need to be simple, since every one can be able to use it easy, but wasn't and XML... The problem of XML is that they started from the wrong point.

But why XML is hard? Well, XML is very easy to declare, to make the document, like HTML is. But is hard to read, to get the data that are inside. Just imagine that you need to make a parser for HTML for a viewer. HTML is not a good format to catch data.

I think that some format simple to catch data and that enable a tree structure (when is needed) will be better. Is just a case to do it, and is something needed.

I remmember that I saw, in the last year (XML was there a long time), in an article "Finally I found an use for XML". In other words, in the way that XML was it's not very useful, we still prefer to use our format or make one.

Graciliano M. P.
"The creativity is the expression of the liberty".

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Re: Re: is XML too hard?
by allolex (Curate) on Mar 18, 2003 at 10:32 UTC

    Actually, natural languages are governed by two principles: economy and expressivity. If we anthropomorphize a bit (which is fairly safe for human products like language), the point is not necessarily to keep things simple, but to provide a means of expressing what you want to communicate while not having things so complex that too much processing power is lost while trying to decipher what was said.

    All languages arrive at a relative balance of expressivity and economy, but their systems are by no means stable. New ideas come up and people need to express them; physical conditions change e.g. parts of words not being pronounced, producing ambiguity) and people have to readapt so that things are clear again. A lot of the processing involved in doing this is done in the background by a system resulting from a combination of innate ability and repetitive conditioning. It's not just linguistic experience that counts---our minds also have to make sense out of things said according to the context they are said in. Think about a phrase like "Would you like to come up for a cup of coffee?" in the context of a date.

    Put into a nutshell, artificial languages are governed by the same principles, but they are usually an attempt to get the 'best' of both. The main thing is that the system should be easy to describe so that it can be learned quickly. Programming languages are pragmatic. They are all about getting things done. Markup languages are designed to add value to previously existing information (e.g. clarity/removing ambiguity).

    XML markup is just a way of adding meaning to text. It definitely fills the criterion of being easy to describe. All variation in the system of describing content is regular---it has to be or else XML would not work. But this ease of description comes with the usual price. Since XML does not have the same contextual and culture cues that meaning in human languages has, it is forced to be very explicit. That's what causes all the headaches, but it is at the same time the genius of the system. Processing it must be exhaustive, but you only have to process it in one way. Imagine if you had to include contextual and cultural cues to your markup.

    But XML is also going in other directions that resemble human semantic processing a lot more. Topic maps, for example, can provide and maintain contextual and metalinguistic information (and a whole lot of other stuff) In order to do this, however, the constructs we use must become more complex. XML is actually something simple which provides a framework for doing more complex things. In any case, pretty much everyone who works with XML is only scratching the surface of what can be done with it. We're dealing with a subset.

    So what can we do to make working with XML easier? XML allows us to do whole bunch of things, but they'll turn out to be use-impaired if we don't plan things correctly. So let's get our ducks in a row before we start adding "value". Many of the applications I have seen for XML were clearly inspired by the desire to use new technology without really considering its potential benefits.


Re: Re: is XML too hard? esperanto
by zby (Vicar) on Mar 18, 2003 at 08:35 UTC
    In fact esperanto is claimed to be really simple, much simpler than any natural language. I believe it was based on French rather then latin.
      And German, English, several easter European languages and a bad idea, IHMO.

      It's like saying: Hey lets make a language out of Ruby, Python, Awk, Perl3, Perl4 and a little bit Perl5, throw in a good measure of BASIC, a bit Lisp, stir and puke. Oh you don't like it? Well, it's not going to change, you know. That's that. And good riddance.


        How can you create an artificial language not basing it on existing languages? You mean you would like something entirely new? Look how Perl is build - you have a bit of shell, a bit of C, a bit of awk and many other languages.
Re: Re: is XML too hard?
by gmpassos (Priest) on Mar 18, 2003 at 18:42 UTC
    The problem to create an artificial language based in other is to choce something that is not very good for the objective, only that.

    About speranto be simple, well, english is more! My main language is portuguese, my first language was french, the 3rd english, and I'm learning spanish. I'm just saying what I saw.

    Graciliano M. P.
    "The creativity is the expression of the liberty".