Beyond the XML mirage
by Simon St. Laurent
Related link: http://monasticxml.org/mirage.html
XML is powerful stuff, but developers need to take information seriously rather than expecting XML to solve their problems if they want to get worthwhile results.
About a month ago, I put up "monasticxml.org", a deliberately unpretty site that looks at how markup works and how an understanding of markup structures might better inform the ways that people use XML. I guess it's reasonably clear that I'm disenchanted with how most people use the stuff, not to mention the enormous baggage the W3C seems intent on piling on top of it. (At least the hype wave is fading.)
Underneath all the dreck, however, there are still some sparkling gems. Markup as a means of sharing labeled and structured information is pretty powerful stuff, though figuring out the labels and structures is still hard work, and stuff XML itself doesn't address. Developers can make excellent use of XML, if they're willing to stand back and look at their information separate from markup syntax and processing expectations. Create open and extensible information structures, and XML can follow.
Does 'monastic' XML make sense, or do developers really need a 'decadent' XML toolkit that does their work for them?
It's a message that needs to be heard by many of the people working with XML today.