Quotes in 1998

Thursday, December 31, 1998
Toward the third quarter of 1998, XML moved from a niche technology to something increasingly talked about to shape information creation and exchange in the enterprise. It's an open standards-based foundation for integration of enterprise data. There's a tremendous amount of business efficiency lost when businesses don't embrace it.

--Ron Rappaport, Zona Research
Read the rest in XML to "revolutionize" info exchange

Monday, December 21, 1998
Traveling away from the XML '98 conference, I had time to look back over the products-and-tools landscape. It seems to me that the server-side stuff is looking really good and the authoring picture is getting better. The browsers, though, just aren't where they should be. For browsers, read "Microsoft and Netscape" although if these guys don't get with the XML program, there may be an opening for lightweight fast-moving players to come up the middle.

--Tim Bray
Read the rest in The Trouble With Browsers

Saturday, December 19, 1998
As a particular market segment matures, the existing players have an enormous vested interest in things continuing the way they are. This makes it difficult for them to embrace anything really new, and allows -- almost requires -- new players ("the barbarians," to use Philippe Kahn's phrase) to come in to create the new markets.

--Tim O'Reilly
Read the rest in Release 1.0 -- The Open-Source Revolution

Friday, December 18, 1998
I think we should be careful to distinguish documents with no explicit prolog from documents with no explicit element type declarations. My personal opinion is that SGML has inappropriately conflated the element type declarations with the entity declarations. The former define the syntactic rules for the document, the latter define the storage organization of the document. These are two fundamentally different and unrelated things and should be completely syntactically separated. It is unfortunate that they are not.

--W. Eliot Kimber on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, December 17, 1998
The whole point of XML attractiveness is the freewheeling markup. XSL is like putting a professor in charge of the soapbox derby.

--Andy Dent on the xsl mailing list

Wednesday, December 16, 1998
SGML markup just provides a bunch of hooks on which you can hang applications. The hype surrounding XML has made it almost impossible to persuade people that it doesn't do everything.

--Peter Flynn on the XML-L mailing list

Tuesday, December 15, 1998
I find XML/CSS to be easier than HTML:/CSS because there are no stupid undocumented bugwards-compatible hardcoded rendering tricks to hack your way around. In other words, applying a CSS stylesheet to XML does what you expect it to. No more "why is there 40 pixels of left margin around that element no matter what my stylesheet does? Aha, its a blockquote".

--Chris Lilley on the xsl mailing list

Monday, December 14, 1998
The W3C has made some very strange moves, but putting CSS and XSL into direct competition is one of the strangest. I fear it may hobble both, as developers struggle over which to support with the most resources.

--Simon St.Laurent on the xsl-list@mulberrytech.com mailing list

Sunday, December 13, 1998
In fact, not sending a DTD is likely to be a common practice when the receiver can be sure that it is valid or doesn't care (e.g. a browser). Note that not sending the DTD does have a few consequences. For example, there is no way for a parser to determine default attribute values, what is insignificant white space, or that an attribute contains a notation or references an unparsed entity.

--Ronald Bourret on the XML-L mailing list

Saturday, December 12, 1998
XML is not designed to work *only* on the Web, it is designed to work *well* on the Web. It would be foolish at best to design a language that only had those things absolutely needed by today's Web technology. It would be like designing roads that can only accomodate model T's because that's all people have today.

--W. Eliot Kimber on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, December 11, 1998
when creating an application of any kind, it is not the design, the schema, or the spec that make bugs *emerge*: it is the real world data. Witness the way a DTD grows like topsy. The system is never that neat because the requirements aren't.

--len bullard on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, December 10, 1998

I know that SGML folks have always seen SGML as the solution to everything, but I don't think they've erased the evidence of where it came from, which was device-independent typographical markup.

If you were to design something for processing data (not just rendering it), you'd have support for the kind of data models recognised in the database world; you'd have integrity constraints (including data types and primary keys); you'd have declarative query languages and report writers rather than navigational APIs and style sheets; you'd have relationships rather than hyperlinks; and (to be trivial about it) you'd have examples in the domain of customers and orders, not books and poems.

--Michael Kay on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, December 9, 1998
Print vs. Web is a false dichotomy. BECAUSE current styling capabilities on the Web are inadequate, the two media are seen as separate. XSL is an attempt to bring "print"-quality formatting to the Web; an attempt to destroy the status quo that Web formatting must be either boring or non-portable. Imagine PDF documents, but with font sizes you can read and honoring your choice of how big to make your browser window, re-flowing appropriately.

--Chris Maden on the xsl mailing list

Tuesday, December 8, 1998
The work on XSL has increased awareness of ensuring good printouts from the Web, and I don't think users will tolerate for long that their browsers print lousily.

--HÛkon Wium Lie on the xsl mailing list

Monday, December 7, 1998
HyTime is a highly general way to associate any piece of information in any format anywhere in the world with any other piece of information in any format anywhere in the world. And about six people actually understand it, and three of them have been institutionalized from the shock.

--Chris Maden on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, December 5, 1998
Java software is portable code ... XML is portable data.

--David Brownell
Read the rest in XML and Java Technology Q & A

Friday, December 4, 1998
An event-based API is the equivalent of a depth-first, LR traversal of a tree; a tree can be (re)generated from the events. The difference is implementation efficiency, but that's a very big one: an event-based API makes it possible to process a very large document using relatively constant resources, but makes arbitrary queries and transformations difficult; a tree-based API makes queries and transformations easy, but resource usage increases with the size of the document.

--David Megginson xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, December 3, 1998
Print has SGML and DSSSL, and I sort of see XML and XSL as the Web equivelant. I think somehow, as a Web designer I feel that my tools are being hijacked by print considerations.

--Guy Murphy on the XSL mailing list

Wednesday, December 2, 1998 9:30:14 AM
I want to build one Web site and have it work everywhere. That's something we could do in 1994, and not today. That's not progress.

--Glenn Davis, Web Standards Project
Read the rest in Browser makers face developers' complaints

Tuesday, December 1, 1998 7:56:11 PM
Imagine that someone sent an expensive XML-based system from North America to Norway, and you discovered that the system constrained phone numbers to consist of exactly 10 digits (XXX XXX-XXXX): you would be quite right to demand a quick fix or a refund. Now, imagine that someone sent an XML-based system from Norway to Beijing, and it constrained city names to contain only Roman letters (accented and unaccented); in fact, you don't need to go so far -- even the good people of Long Beach and the nuns of Sainte-Marie-d'en-Haut need spaces, apostrophes, and dashes as well as Roman characters in their place names.

--David Megginson on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, November 30, 1998
The popular human representations of dates and floats are compound, but the intrinsic values are not. They are both points in a one-dimensional space, the first being discrete and the second pseudo-continuous.

--Michael Kay on the XML-DEV mailing list

Monday, November 23, 1998

Somewhere, somehow, somebody got the idea that when we moved to the web, human beings all got a hell of a lot smarter. All of a sudden, all the principles, concepts, and guidelines, all the hundreds of thousands of hours of user-testing, psychological research, and inspiration that went into the design of the GUI could be safely thrown out the window. All of a sudden, the beauty of the page was everything, and usability took a permanent back seat.

It ain't gonna work, folks. Human evolution didn't take a sudden upward hitch in 1992. We're the same and, more importantly, our users are the same.

--Bruce Tognazzini
Read the rest in AskTog: Sorry State of Web Design

Sunday, November 22, 1998
Let the formatting folks create a simple/elegant/powerful XML syntax for describing documents -- without worrying about how people are going to create that syntax. Let the transformation folks create a simple/elegant/powerful XML syntax for transforming any XML document into any other XML document -- without being distracted by formatting issues. Of course, non-trivial formatting tasks will require that you use both, but they're still designed better in (relative) isolation.

--Scott Lawton on the XSL mailing list

Saturday, November 21, 1998

The goal is to have a single language that, once mastered, can be used for any kind of formatting -- a language powerful enough to support the high-quality automated layout of any amount of material that conforms to a given DTD or document schema and modular enough to share the bulk of a complex stylesheet across both print and online versions.

Only when you have a single stylesheet language that can replace the proprietary style and layout formats of programs like Quark Express, FrameMaker, PageMaker, and Word will you be able to achieve completely functional and transparent document interchange across applications. And only when you have a language equally capable of supporting both print and online display will you be able to build the common training infrastructure that can create the shared set of human resources needed for media-independent publishing in the next century.

That language must be primarily declarative, so that stylesheets can be interchanged between different interactive stylesheet editors, and it must be able to scale from a one-off memo on up to the Yellow Pages, the New York Times, and the L. L. Bean catalogue -- both the online and print versions. A language that supports only the production of HTML can't do that.

--Jon Bosak on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, November 20, 1998
Large committees produce large standards, and large standards never get implemented. Small committees are good because they do *less* work.

--Michael Kay on the XML-DEV mailing list

Wednesday, November 18, 1998 12:28:50 PM
I sometimes imagine billions and billions of SGML/XML dialects being processed and flowed in billions and billions of directions, all being optimally typeset for the printed page with TeX-based systems. Isn't that, after all, the XML youth-dream.

--William F. Hammond on the MathML mailing list

Tuesday, November 17, 1998
Remember that there were people who warned us "SAX is a waste of time" - this is a W3C activity... The same could be said of XSchema. There seems now to be no reasons why (after testing) we shouldn't see XSchema become widely used for authoring/editing/validating. It's there - it does a useful job - let's see it included in all the major tools.

--Peter Murray-Rust on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, November 16, 1998
The Internet is just full of data. XML is going to allow you to get at that data and sort it into more legible information.

--Robert Petty, manager of electronic business services at Telstra
Read the rest in XML Examined

Saturday, November 14, 1998
XSL is not a programming language. If it evolves into something of a real programming or scripting language then everyone might as well just use Javascript, Java with servlets, or any other scripting solution to do everything. I think there is an unfortunate perception out there that XSL is supposed to do every type of content processing imaginable both on the client and server side. If XSL turns into a bloated spec, there is no reason to use it as there are already products like Cold Fusion which do all of what XSL does and more. XSL I feel should be simple and geared somewhat towards the end-user.

--Tyler Baker on the XSL mailing list

Friday, November 13, 1998
Infoseek is making a reasonable bet that there is going to be a lot of XML around and searching it is going to be in demand.

--Tim Bray
Read the rest in Technology News from Wired News

Thursday, November 12, 1998
I get the impression that many people regard the reformatting of XML documents for human readers as the only valid thing to do with XML. It's important, but it's not going to lead to innovation. I'd much rather see structured *graphics* being addressed than stylesheets. Far more exciting. - Yes I know there is movement in this area. I'd also like to see *some* movement on 'behaviour' - how to we create an interactive document rather than simply decide on the best way to send it to the printer (which will be 99% of the use of XSL).

--Peter Murray-Rust on the XML-DEV mailing list

Wednesday, November 11, 1998
If Microsoft had claimed <ms:eval> as a prioprietary extension to XSL, I may have disagreed that it were necessary, but I would not have argued that they were wrong. But they are asserting in their examples that there exists an <eval> element in the XSL namespace as defined by the XSL working draft, which is simply, unequivocally, undeniably, and inarguably FALSE. The thing they have documented IS NOT XSL. They knew that; I can only assume that they didn't care. Welcome to Microsoft. Where do you want to go today? Uh-huh... that's nice. Here's where you're going.

--Chris Maden on the XSL mailing list

Sunday, November 8, 1998
There are major advantages for using XML files for data storage and especially for data interchange. XML formats are basically self-documenting and are meant to be both human and machine-readable. That means that you will be able to read the file in 10 or 20 years, unlike most other data structures. You can read and write a valid XML file from any XML-generating application, so you aren't locked into a single program with a proprietary file format. It's based on Unicode, so it's not limited to Western languages.

--Avi Rappoport on xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, November 7, 1998
Those who make choices that are genuinely good for customers, authors, and publishers will prevail. Goliath is always in range of a good slingshot."

--Jeff Bezos, amazon.com

Wednesday, November 4, 1998
Some design critics say that Yahoo is boring, but the simplicity has its own elegance, even if it doesn't win design awards. In fact, design awards are rarely given to those designs that work best in real use.

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in Why Yahoo is Good - But May Get Worse

Tuesday, November 3, 1998
Sooner or later every specification has to be made in non-technical terms: if people are confused by XML in semi-formal terms, I don't believe they will be less mystified by XML in Z and Z specified in some other book itself in semi-formal terms.

--Rick Jelliffe on the XML-DEV mailing list

Monday, November 2, 1998
Like most religious texts, the XML 1.0 spec has proven itself internally-inconsistent, so we're going to have to invent some kind of exegetical method now to show how it's really all an allegory.

--David Megginson.com on the XML Dev mailing list

Saturday, October 31, 1998
It's easy to spoof something like Netscape so they can't tell you're a metasearch engine versus a browser. And it's unclear whether there's anything illegal about retrieving Web pages from an engine: People who filch off Lycos are likely under the same liability as Lycos is for filching off Web pages.

--Erik Selberg, one of the authors of MetaCrawler
Read the rest in Technology News from Wired News

Friday, October 30, 1998
We're developing the idea of 'dynamic publishing,' where whatever the market requires is what our technology can produce. Bitstream has developed a flexible page-layout system, called PageFlex, that can be tied to IBM InfoPrint and InfoColor printers, and Inso Corp.'s publishing database system called MediaBank. This system is managed through IBM networking software, using XML and HTML, so that the same intellectual property can be targeted to a number of closely defined markets, with print output tailored to the individual reader, including names and photos, and be reformatted for display on a Web page

--Steve Dienna, solutions executive for publishing at IBM
Read the rest in Publishers' Weekly

Thursday, October 29, 1998
What we're facing now is what I call Lumiere Brothers syndrome. After France's Lumiere brothers invented the motion picture, what they'd do is point a camera at a proscenium and film some actors doing Shakespeare. Then, they'd take it around the countryside and show it to people for a farthing or a groat or whatever. We're recycling the content and techniques of a prior medium in the new one. Where's our D.W. Griffith?

--David Liddle, CEO of Interval Research Corporation
Read the rest in Culture News from Wired News

Wednesday, October 28, 1998
XSL is a higher-level approach; it greatly simplifies the most common kinds of document transformation, but is specific to those operations. By contrast, the DOM is just a datastructure; you provide your own program to manipulate it and that program can be as complicated as you like... but you have to code all that logic manually.

--Joe Kesselman on the XSL mailing list

Tuesday, October 27, 1998
With Multilingual Internet Access you finally get the World Wide Web instead of the Roman Wide Web.

--Joel Breckinridge
Read the rest in Mac OS 8.5 Special Report: Multilingual Internet Access

Saturday, October 24, 1998
The earliest versions of HotJava validated, but there's this evil thing called "bad HTML" that quickly reared its ugly head. No HTML browser can possibly afford to validate. Instead, they compete on how many violations of HTML syntax they can "add value to".

--David Brownell on the XML Dev mailing list

Thursday, October 22, 1998
On the average, the Web doesn't work: when you think of something to do on the Web, the expected outcome is that you will fail.

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in Failure of Corporate Websites

Tuesday, October 20, 1998
A formal specification is essentially a piece of code that the creator believes has been debugged when it has been desk-checked.

--John Cowan on the XML Dev mailing list

Monday, October 19, 1998
[Jon Postel] wasn't powerful because he ran a corporation. He basically ran it because people trusted him. His power didn't come from anywhere other than his good taste and his ability to talk to people. It was a unique thing. If he was interested in being a teacher, he would have made a brilliant one. Jon could have been a millionaire. It just wasn't his bag.

--Dave Farber, professor of telecommunications at the University of Pennsylvania
Read the rest in IANA chief Jon Postel dies

Saturday, October 17, 1998
HTML, as implemented in several current CSS-enabled browsers, has some hard-coded presentational aspects. For example, some tags have margins that cannot be reset, or they cannot be made to be block, or made to be inline, etc. XML does not have these restrictions because there is no hard-coded processing of the elements.

--Chris Lilley on the xsl mailing list

Thursday, October 15, 1998
I want Microsoft and Netscape to first buckle down and implement 100% support for the 21-month old totally stable well-understood CSS 1 spec. The XSL stuff is cool but MS is running a *big* risk of people going ahead and implementing something that may be real different from where XSL ends up next summer. I cannot in good conscience recommend to anyone that they implement anything mission-critical based on XSL, and I'm one of the world's biggest supporters of the XSL work.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, October 14, 1998
We believe there's huge potential in sharing data and bridging different objects, a huge potential for interoperability, but it's too soon for deep support in tools. We need to choose what it is that it will do. XML can do almost anything.

--Paul Gross, vice president of developer tools at Microsoft. "
Read the rest in Microsoft gives XML a big bear hug

Monday, October 12, 1998
The concepts involved here are _not_ rocket science. As much fun as it may be for people to call themselves 'information modelers' and justify their positions by describing it as lofty and complicated work, I think it would do a lot more for the cause of XML to stop the loftiness and bring this down to earth. Assuming that people are capable of learning, if shown a good reason to use XML in the first place, would be a damn nice first step.

--Simon St.Laurent on the XML-L mailing list

Sunday, October 11, 1998
If you're coming to a medium to make money, you can't expect that medium to change itself to fit your model. If they've got a model that requires these kind of restrictions on links, then their model is fundamentally broken, and they're not really interested in being on the World Wide Web. It's the media maker who is comfortable in a distributed environment who is going to succeed

--Joey Manley, director of Free Speech Internet Television.
Read the rest in Business News from Wired News

Saturday, October 10, 1998
I don't know how many times I'm going to have to repeat this before someone in an editor-making organization listens. It is not beyond the wit of the human race to make an editor which lets you apply markup via apparent styling, and saves the marked-up document into one file and the stylesheet data into another, with a suitable link, especially if both are expressed in the same syntax, and then lets you save them to a web server folder. It is, however, apparently beyond the wit of the current crop of editor designers.

--Peter Flynn on the XML-L mailing list

Friday, October 9, 1998
Most computer users could care less about what goes on inside a program -- what data model it's based on, whether it's written in C++ or COBOL--, what fancy algorithms it uses -- any more than most of us care which steel alloy a hammer is made of. What they want is something that will solve their (non-computer) problem. If it doesn't solve the problem, it won't stand a chance in the marketplace, no matter how code-wise hip it is.

--Ron Bourret on the XML-L mailing list

Thursday, October 8, 1998
PGML is a spec. XML is a spec. They are pieces of paper talking about software. Meanwhile, everybody's using Flash.

--Rob Burgess, Macromedia
Read the rest in Business News from Wired News

Wednesday, October 7, 1998
I know a number of companies in Europe who have looked at both SGML and XML and have turned them down flat as "rubbish" (one CEO's words) because the end-user tools for XML are virtually non-existent yet and the tools for SGML are "primitive" (another CEO's words).

--Peter Flynn on the XML-L mailing list

Tuesday, October 6, 1998
There are a lot of people who are planning to use XML to help meet a lot of different business needs, and are trying to push things in a direction that favors them. I would say that on the standards side, the process is on balance, and on the implementation side, the main problem is the distortions caused by the dominating presence of the Microsoft monopoly.

--Tim Bray
Read the rest in Politics win out over needs of IT organizations

Monday, October 5, 1998
Politics in the Internet-standards space could rival those in Washington. There are coalitions, lobbyists, and politicians -- all jockeying to push a standard that best lines up with their own interests, and, if possible, one that puts a competitor at a disadvantage.

--Jeff Walsh, InfoWorld Electric
Read the rest in Politics win out over needs of IT organizations (InfoWorld)

Sunday, October 4, 1998
CSS more or less from my understanding is pretty much completely bound to the web browser. If you think that Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer are the best things that will ever become of the internet for end users, then I guess there is no need for XSL. XSL I think has much more important future ramifications outside of the web browser arena.

--Tyler Baker on the XML-DEV mailing list

Saturday, October 3, 1998
We are now at the stage where new standards are being submitted faster than old ones are being finalised.

--James Robertson on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, October 2, 1998
I'm having a hard time coming up with practical uses for XSL that don't remind me of nuclear missiles homing in on a gnat, hell bent on blasting that little gnat to smithereens.

--Simon St.Laurent on the XML-Dev Mailing list

Thursday, October 1, 1998
Transformations are the basis of all XML processing. I expect that within a few years all XML-processing applications will have transformation engines built in. Style application are just the start.

--Paul Prescod on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, September 30, 1998
XML is new, it's exciting, and it's got to be good, because the specification for it looks indecipherable.

--Simon St. Laurent
Read the rest in Chicago Tribune Silicon Prairie

Saturday, September 26, 1998
As you spend time with XML/XSL you will find that rules that seem so simple and black and white in theory are very fuzzy and hard to apply in practice.

--Paul Prescod on the xsl mailing list

Friday, September 25, 1998
XML, as a new format, gives you the same benefits as a database.This is something that you can't get with HTML

--Susan Fischer, manager of e-commerce and communications at CDW Computers Center
Read the rest in 3Com paves the way to resellers with XML (InfoWorld)

Thursday, September 24, 1998

So currently, if you do an Altavista web search on "book" and "Joe Blow" it returns items about books where Joe Blow is the author or the subject plus 99,000 other useless pages. You then spend hours looking through the links trying to find exactly what you want.

In the future, you do a search on document type "book" where author is "Joe Blow" and "for sale" = true. It returns a list of books for sale. You sort by the "price" attribute to find the lowest price. Click the link and purchase the book. All in 5 minutes.

--Greg Lundstrum on the XML-L mailing list

Saturday, September 19, 1998 10:13:58 AM
The thing that disappoints me the most about Bill Gates and Microsoft is not so much their ethics as the fact that they have no class. It's just so disheartening.

--Donna Dubinsky, ex-president of Palm Computing
Read the rest in How Palm beat Microsoft

Friday, September 18, 1998
Documents are pretty much the most complicated type of data in existence.

--Paul Prescod on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, September 16, 1998

Given that XML was designed for use over the Web (right?) and it has been in gestation for 2 years I find it incredible that XML has not done anything useful in public view. Lots of hype in the magazines, etc. but nothing tangible to show for it. Tangible in the sense that I can show a non-XML person something that will interest them.

XML was effectively launched in Spring 1997 at WWW6, Santa Clara. It's 15 months since then and over a year since the first draft of the XLink spec was released. And as far as I can see there are virtually no useful applications that have been created. I now find it difficult to convince people that XML is useful, other than by repeatedly stating it as an act of faith.

--Peter Murray-Rust on the xml-dev mailing list

Tuesday, September 15, 1998
XML has no competitors. PDF cannot do what XML can do. RTF cannot do it. PostScript cannot do it. HTML cannot do it. People are hyped about XML because they have been waiting for it without knowing that they were doing so.

--Paul Prescod on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, September 14, 1998
XML must serve as a rallying point, a waving flag, national anthem, a cure-all, an extra sticker on the box, a true-blue hype of the decade so that the bull#$@# will be spread evenly across the horizon and fertilize the soil for things to come.

--Don Park on the XML Developers' list

Friday, September 11, 1998

One has to wonder, if DTDs are abandoned (or become legacy items) whe- ther, practically speaking, SGML compatibility will end up abandoned as well.

If that happens, one has to wonder whether a fundamental redesign is in order. I.e., if DTDs, SGML, etc. go out the window, why not just go back to the drawing board? There's a lot of cruft that only made it into the XML standard because of SGML compatibility requirements.

--Richard L. Goerwitz on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, September 9, 1998
Silicon Valley has perfected many of the principles laid out by Karl Marx. In his terms, workers control the means of production. In our terms, every employee is an owner of the company.

--Jerry Kaplan, founder and chief executive officer of Onsale
Read the rest in A Wild Swing in Share Price Is Not News in Silicon Valley

Sunday, September 6, 1998
XML's vision of extreme openness is hardly comforting for an industry long accustomed to maintaining market share by locking in users with file formats and incompatible features. While companies may still be able to create obfuscated DTDs with element and attribute names that are misleading or difficult to figure out, the usefulness of XML increases as more and more applications are able to read a file. Creating open standards for document syntax encourages open standards for document structures, making it harder and harder for vendors to maintain their hold on a market.

--Simon St. Laurent
Read the rest in Cement Shoes for XML?

Friday, September 4, 1998
I had expected that JUMBO would have been overtaken by commercial client-side browsers by now, but get the sad impression that client-side XML is not being addressed as excitingly as it could. (The idea of using XML server-side to generate PDF is underwhelming as a global revolution).

--Peter Murray-Rust on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, September 3, 1998
XML wasn't a big thing, and so it was much easier to explain the DOM in concepts people were familiar with, like Dynamic HTML. But now, as people are getting more experienced in XML, we can show actual XML examples without people saying, 'huh?'

--Lauren Wood, chairperson of the W3C DOM working group
Read the rest in DOM's Potential Shines

Wednesday, September 2, 1998
CSS+DOM can probably do anything that needs to be done. In fact, the DOM alone can probably do anything that needs to be done. The problem is that the more of your information system you build into "scripts" or other proprietary, ad hoc code, the less robust it is and the less reusable your information is. So our goal ist build layers of "declarativeness" that progressively relegate scripting to the margins. We work to replace ad hocness with agreed-upon standards. XSL is one more layer of declarativeness. After two or three years, we will look again to see what people are using the DOM and scripts to do and ask what can be encoded declaratively and push scripting back into the margins.

--Paul Prescod on the XSL list

Tuesday, September 1, 1998
XSL has to catch on long before there are widespread GUI tools for it, in order for it to have critical mass enough to make the GUI tools feasible.

--Paul Prescod on the xsl-list

Monday, August 31, 1998
We've had new technology problems, and they come up time and time and time again. We've seen it with photocopying, cable television, radio, motion pictures, and phonograph records. These patterns have just happened time and time again for the last hundred or so years--which doesn't mean they are not problems, but it puts them in perspective

--Trotter Hardy, Law Professor, William and Mary
Read the rest in Copyright report opposes new laws

Sunday, August 30, 1998
But as a business driven by an imperative to make money, Microsoft has consistently shown a disdain for standards and the needs of its customers. It essentially owns the information systems marketplace on PCs, which means most of the desktops in the world. It has a significant share of the back-end market (at ISOGEN, most of the people working on workstations use Microsoft software to do most of their work--what does that tell you?). Except for Adobe's PDF, Microsoft owns the data formats (and therefore the data) of most of the world's documents and this doesn't seem to be near to changing. Putting RTF or Excel into XML form won't change that situation much (although it will make it marginally easier to do stuff with an otherwise proprietary format because you'll be able to apply normal SGML and XML tools to it, even if you can't get reliable documentation for what it is you've got).

--W. Eliot Kimber on the xml-dev mailing list

Saturday, August 29, 1998
XML is revolutionary. Now revolutions are not pretty things generally. People who have power loose it and other people gain it at their expense. Revolutions mean things don't work the same way anymore. Previous questions don't apply

--Jeffrey Ricker on the XML-L mailing list

Friday, August 28, 1998
XML is to information what electricity is to modern society. People without access to the Net will be using XML-based technologies. Everytime a cash register rings, a garage door opens, a heart stops beating, a bomb falls, information packaged as XML will travel back and forth to let others know and get things done.

--Don Park, CTO Docuverse, on the xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, August 27, 1998
XML is only appropriate for some things. The idea that it should be used for *all things* is quite likely to lead to a backlash from people whose common sense dictates otherwise. XML already goes incredibly far in using XSL for everything. Pushing it into the pattern is a bad idea not only because of the verbosity, but because the verbosity and character set problems will prevent the language from being used in other contexts, such as in queries from attribute values in XML documents, or in query languages meant to be typed on a command line or from a programming language (like SQL).

--Paul Prescod on the XSL mailing list

Wednesday, August 26, 1998
I've looked at a lot of HTML code in the past 5 years, and you know what? Most of you way overcode your content. You try to hard; worry too much about how the page looks and not enough about what is said. Browsers are very sophisticated programs. Given well coded html files they do a great job over a wide range of applications and output environments. Trust 'em.

--Larry Aronson on the WWWAC mailing list

Tuesday, August 25, 1998
where's the end-user software? Lots of middleware, lots of toolkits, and more XML parsers in Java than there are CS1 students :-) but very little for the author or browser yet.

--Peter Flynn on the XML-L mailing list

Monday, August 24, 1998

What frightens me is the danger that some people might forget about layering and try to overload the XML core. XML 1.0 has some warts, but in general, it's beautifully simple. I have no objection to seeing RDF, DCD, Namespaces, etc. built *on top of* XML, but I don't want to see them built *into* XML

-- imagine if every program that worked with ASCII had to be able to parse C++ as well, or if every IP router had to know about HTTP!

--David Megginson on the XML Dev mailing list

Sunday, August 23, 1998
If understanding XML is going to require namespaces and RDF, a lot of folks are going to choke. If XML is about elements and attributes and the rest of it is gravy, then I think we'll be all right.

--Simon St.Laurent on the "XML Dev" mailing list

Saturday, August 22, 1998
Is it worthwhile, at this point in history, trying to retroactively save HTML?

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

Friday, August 21, 1998
the monolithic approach to XML documents reminds me of computer programming in the 1970s ("function calls are too slow; let's use goto instead!"). Hard-core developers already learned these lessons the hard way -- the web community, which has been clogging its arteries for a couple of years by repeatedly cramming HTML, CSS, and Javascript into a single file, is about to learn the same.

--David Megginson on the xml-dev@ic.ac.uk mailing list

Thursday, August 20, 1998
I hate to say it, but it's looking like the W3C is heading into the "let's get complicated as quickly as possible" thicket after a fairly refreshing period that produced XML 1.0. Between RDF and DCD, not to mention namespaces, is a swirling vortex of bizarrely complicated stuff that describes pretty simple stuff....could somebody slow this stuff down so that XML can have a tiny chance to grow? We're not even at the first round of browser implementations and already it looks like XML is attempting self-immolation at the shrine of complexity. The specs are doing too many things in too many places.

--Simon St.Laurent on the XML Dev mailing list

Wednesday, August 19, 1998
the W3C, Microsoft, and Netscape all feel further development of HTML is a dead end. All of their efforts are focused on XML and style sheet related developments. Adding a new tag to HTML is not going to happen

--Neil Soiffer on the MathML mailing list

Tuesday, August 18, 1998
XML came about in a remarkably short period of time and yet exhibits substantial "beauty" in its simplicity. The reason for this goes deeper than the fact that some great minds designed it -- XML is the result of over a *decade* of experience with SGML. Some good things in SGML were dropped, some good things were retained, but all the while, the decisions were based on rubber-on-the-road *experience*.

--Sean Mcgrath on the xml-dev mailing list

Monday, August 17, 1998
One guarantee: whatever comes out of the XML WG will not be a carbon-copy of any of the proposals that go in.

--Tim Bray on the XML-L mailing list

Sunday, August 16, 1998
Lycos wants to save the planet -- but only if it can also pull in the hits and not generate any negative press.

--Steve Silberman
Read the rest in Lycos to Planet: Save Yourself

Saturday, August 15, 1998
  1. The process of marking up documents logically (a-la XML) is really, really hard.
  2. So is the process of manually indexing documents.
  3. Things that are really hard to do are generally really, really expensive.

--Lou Rosenfeld
Read the rest in Web Review - Bottom-up Architecture

Friday, August 14, 1998
Talk to the *HTML editor* people. They are responsible for foisting a lot of errors on us--I don't care whether they are validated or not--they often produce such garbage (Front Page, Cold Fusion) that I can't read them with Lynx at all.

--Eric Eldred on xml-dev mailing list

Thursday, August 13, 1998
The W3C, by contrast, is a consortium of vendors and users. It has no formal authority. It is not an agent of any government. It does not derive, however indirectly, from the will of the people. Therefore, it has absolutely no leverage by which to coerce or encourage respect for the recommendations it creates except the persuasive force of whatever arguments it might make or the degree to which it can influence popular opinion so as to change consumption habits. But since its members are the very organizations that need to be convinced to implement these standards, it's not realistic to expect the W3C to beat hard on its largest member.

--W. Eliot Kimber on the xml-dev mailing list

Wednesday, August 12, 1998
The discussions [inside the W3C] are a mixture of genuine technical exploration of the issues and big companies trying to defend the implementation decisions they've already made. It's not nearly as much fun as it used to be; back before anyone had actually noticed XML, we had the best part of a year where all we worried about was the right way to do things.

--Tim Bray
Read the rest in Tim Bray on DCD and W3C

August 11, 1998
A lot of the work we've done so far on XML-Dev and a lot of the work to come is incredibly dependent on a very few market movers choosing to support standards they don't fully control. If XML is going to make it, those folks had better get used to liking standards they don't fully control, and which may in fact make their lives more difficult and their profits harder to come by. Interoperability means less of a lock-in for vendors - we might as well face it.

--Simon St.Laurent on the xml-dev mailing list

August 10, 1998
HTML is dead - it's not even cute and fuzzy. As far as I know, the big goal right now is to try and get Netscape to ship the new layout engine in 5.0, so we can count on full CSS support and some XML, with a solid DOM. The timing issues are a problem, as we're not exactly there yet with a complete DOM spec. That, more than anything else, worries me and makes me wonder if the WSP has a snowball's chance.

--Steven Champeon on the xml-dev mailing list

Sunday, August 9, 1998
A few of us are lucky enough to be working on projects, either in the SGML world or in niches of XML development where browsers per se don't matter, but the rest of us are sitting around waiting for some serious implementations from the large vendors, waiting to be able to take screen shots that demonstrate that XML can actually be used in an environment that's cheap, widely available, and standardized across platforms.

--Simon St.Laurent on the xml-dev mailing list

August 8, 1998
XML on its own is really this stream of internationalized characters that follows certain rules. But you can't actually do anything with this stream of characters with pointy brackets and question marks in it. But, for example, if you have used XML to define items in a catalog, you need some way of getting ordering information out of the catalog and inside an order form, inside that commerce application. That's the DOM.

--Lauren Wood, chairperson of the W3C DOM working group
Read the rest in DOM's Potential Shines

August 7, 1998
We've had new technology problems, and they come up time and time and time again. We've seen it with photocopying, cable television, radio, motion pictures, and phonograph records. These patterns have just happened time and time again for the last hundred or so years--which doesn't mean they are not problems, but it puts them in perspective

--Trotter Hardy, Law Professor, William and Mary
Read the rest in Copyright report opposes new laws

August 6, 1998

Whenever I had users in the lab for usability tests, I found they were highly focused on the articles or other content in the site. Users were very concerned with whether the content was something they liked, something they thought was useful. That was what they kept commenting on -- not the design, layout, or navigation. (In other words, all the things we were trying to test!)

Users generally didn't like marketing writing. They kept saying, "Just tell me the information I need to know." They actually used the word "fluff" very often on their own.

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in CONTENTIOUS

July 29, 1998
Time and time again, however, Congress has put the economic interests of various privacy invaders ahead of the privacy interests of the American public. When it comes to privacy, in fact, the agenda in Congress today seems to be set mostly by commercial interests.

--Charles Lewis, Chairman of the Center for Public Integrity
Read more details about how Congress is bought and paid for by big companies that want to invade your privacy

July 27, 1998
Electronic text should be based on interaction, hypertext linking, navigation, search, and connections to online services and continuous updates. These new-media capabilities allow for much more powerful user experiences than a linear flow of text. Linear text may have ruled the world since the Egyptians learned to produce arbitrarily long scrolls of papyrus, but it's time to end this tradition. Nobody has time to read long reports any more: information must be dynamic and under direct control of the reader, not the author.

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in Electronic Books - A Bad Idea

July 25, 1998
A new idea does not succeed by convincing the world of its brilliance. A new idea succeeds by having those who do not believe it dying off and being replaced by a new group who take it for granted.

--Linus Pauling

July 24, 1998
Microsoft asks consumers in its advertisements, "Where do you want to go today?" But if Microsoft continues on its present course, consumers will increasingly be asking, "Is there anywhere I can go except where Microsoft wants me to?"

--Rob Glaser, CEO of Real Networks
Read more in the San Jose Mercury

July 23, 1998
I can tell you something else about the poorly produced sites; in their designs, the allocation of space on the screen tends to reflect the distribution of the political power controlling the site. Programmers have a great deal of control, so there are lots of fancy tricks employed... designers control a great deal, so there are elaborate page navigation systems, and elaborate buttons to click on. The result is that content winds up with only a tiny share of the screen, often only 20-30% of the bandwidth! The rest is computer or administrative debris, or over-produced, over-crafted buttons.

--Edward Tufte
Read the rest at Computer Literacy

July 21, 1998
While some industry players may form and join self-regulatory programs, many may not. This would result in a lack of the uniform privacy protections that the commission believes are necessary to allow electronic commerce to flourish. The commission believes that unless industry can demonstrate that it has developed and implemented broad-based and effective self-regulatory programs by the end of this year, additional governmental authority in this area would be appropriate and necessary.

--Robert Pitofsky, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission
Read more on news.com

July 20, 1998
CSS will just not support print in the manner that XSL can support print. And finer and more flexible control over layout may not remain a problem reserved for print. Jon Bosak, the chair of the XML Working Group, speculates that in the long term, the requirements for on-screen layout will surpass those for print because of the endless variety of display devices that must be supported and the eventual need for complex hyperlinking and navigation.

--Liora Alschuler
Read the rest on xml.com

July 18, 1998
let's not get into the habit of allowing costly management strategies just because they're already employed in the impromptu world of HTML or the more (and less) structured world of SGML. XML already has a difficult enough burden to carry as its inheritance.

--Simon St. Laurent on the xml-dev mailing list

July 17, 1998
One of my greatest hopes for XML is that it makes possible a much-improved approach to document management on all scales. I have strong hopes that XML, combined with object databases and some other key technologies, will be able to transform the current filesystem metaphors.

--Simon St. Laurent on the xml-dev mailing list
Read more about this in Bringing the File System into the File

July 16, 1998
Virtually every application shipping from Microsoft in the next couple of years will use XML for its own purposes

--David Turner, Microsoft XML Evangelist Read the rest on news.com

July 15, 1998
On average, when you ask someone to perform a task on a site, they cannot do it. It's not their fault, it's the designer's fault.

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in the New York Times

July 14, 1998
I ran some tests a while ago and found that XML, after compression, was within about 10% of the file size of a text file containing the same data but without tags.

--Andrew Layman on the xml-dev mailing list

July 13, 1998
It seems to me the way of the world that a technology and its human hosts cannot be divided. Unless a standard is about something trivial or unless the writers of the standard have perfect knowledge of the presuppositions of its readership, then a specification will always be incomplete (especially initially).

--Rick Jelliffe on the xml-dev mailing list

July 12, 1998

Because the XML standard says so little about what a "Public Identifier" is (and in particular, doesn't constrain it to be either public or an identifier), we can expect to find different sub-communities using them in all kinds of different ways.

Certainly XML doesn't contain any rule to stop me using the characters "IANA" in my Public Identifier, and if the rule is written somewhere else, then I'm afraid I haven't read it and don't feel bound by it.

--Michael Kay on the xml-dev mailing list

July 11 ,1998
Dynamic data sharing will be viewed as a highly strategic, competitive weapon. XML sets the stage for solving the problem

--Frank Moss, former chairman of Tivoli Systems
Read the rest in InfoWorld

July 10, 1998

It occurred to me the other day that an XML document, a stylesheet for rendering it, and an Action Sheet for responding to events associated with it, represent an instance of the well-known Model-View-Controller paradigm.

There's a paper here somewhere.

--John Cowan on the XML-dev mailing list

July 8, 1998
The very nice Apple booth was populated by lots of very boisterous and knowledgable individuals. They all wore nice white polo shirts that featured the new 'Think Different' slogan and a black Apple logo. To clarify: They all wore the exact same white polo shirt, with the exact same hat that told us, despite what we see, to 'Think Different.'

--Anthony Burokas on MacInTouch

July 6, 1998
It's almost like stealth XML. What we have today are some products coming out with an XML twist, but we're still trying to understand the wider implications

--Craig Hayman, IBM's program director of repository strategy
Read the rest in InfoWorld

July 3, 1998
HTML is not XML in (at least) one important way: it is single tag set (instead of a language in which to define tag sets) with mostly pre-defined presentational expectations, so HTML-aware tools (aka browsers) can have built-in knowledge of how to present, say, an H2 or UL. In other words, there is no need for a stylesheet for HTML.

--Paul Grosso on the XSL mailing list

July 1, 1998
XML is one of the greatest advances in the Web in a long time. Whereas most other Web innovations since 1993 have focused on glitz and on making superficially glamorous but useless fancy layouts, XML attacks the usefulness of the Web by adding structure and meaning to its vast seas of information.

--Jakob Nielsen, Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems
Read the rest in Computer Reseller News

June 30, 1998
HTML has done the world a lot of good. So did WordPerfect. Sometimes you just have to move on. (Or, to be harsher and more colloquial, "you can't polish a turd.")

--Simon St. Laurent on the XML-dev mailing list

June 29, 1998

The current HTML 4.0 has tags for many purposes and is an amalgam of tags accumulated during the past six years or so, during the very rapid expansion of the Web.

The modularization of HTML will help make the language more manageable, as well as making it practical to cleanly integrate mark-up with other XML tag sets, such as those for math, music, vector graphics and multimedia presentations. HTML will itself be defined as a suite of XML tag sets, probably consisting of a "core" set, with other tag sets for representing document idioms such as headings and paragraphs, relational data and forms, scalable graphics, multi-media, and so on. These tag sets will be able to be combined as necessary.

There is no requirement to provide an upwards compatible route from "classic" HTML to the new generation, and some tags may not get a place in the new specifications. Certain tags purely for presentational purposes, for example, may be discarded.

--W3C HTML Activity Statement

June 26, 1998
For Congress to adopt the Istook amendment would be like ordering every newsstand in the country to be wrapped entirely in a brown paper bag to protect any child from seeing any potentially obscene materials

--Ron Weich, legislative consultant on cyberliberties issues for the ACLU's Washington National Office
Read the rest on news.com

June 25, 1998
Computers aren't yet smart enough to understand anything. It will be decades before you will be able to describe the concept of "title" to a computer. All we can teach computers is *behaviour*: what to do with various types of XML elements.

--Paul Prescod on the xml-dev mailing list

June 24, 1998
Since XML lives on the border of the "real world" of human thoughts and ideas and the quasi-mathematical world of the computer, we must expect to deal with both that which is well-defined and that which is fuzzy.

--Paul Prescod on the xml-dev mailing list

June 23, 1998
W3C is focussing on using XML as the common underpinning to many of its specifications. The Consortium is seeking to redevelop HTML as a suite of XML tag sets for use in combination with Math, Synchronized Multimedia and Graphics.

--W3C Activity Statement on XML

June 22, 1998
Comments are a weak and downright bad means of providing anything more than the simplest supporting information.

--Simon St. Laurent on the xml-dev mailing list

June 21, 1998

There's going to be a flood of *ML acronyms soon :-)

I know some zoologists who wanted MAML, the Mammalian Aquatic Markup Language, for exchanging messages and data on research into whales and other aquatic mammals. And a military history geek suggested ROML for those interested in a Webring on WW2 desert warfare; doubtless Austrian bakers will wish to use SEML; dwarves may want GIMLi (i for interactive); a certain cosmetics manfacturer can propose RIML; the Borg will definitely want ASIML; saddlers can use POML; etc

--Peter Flynn on the XML-L mailing list

June 18, 1998

IETF focuses on getting compatible implementations, and W3C depends on the honor system. It hasn't worked very well in HTML. I'm intimately familiar with this. I've been talking with both NS and MS for a few years. It's a mess...

Depending on the good intentions of engineers is not a good way to get a strong standard to happen.

--Dave Winer on the XML-L mailing list

June 16, 1998
The first one to the marketplace with a browser that passes off any randomly-assembled bag of garbage masquerading as "the XML standard", but which displays them cutely or neatly, will be taken as being _the_ standard.

--Peter Flynn on the XML-L mailing list

June 15, 1998

...there is a looming danger that the Web will stop being an interconnected universal hypertext and turn into a set of isolated info-islands. Anything that reduces the prevalence and usefulness of cross-site linking is a direct attack on the founding principle of the Web.

Most of this danger comes from attempts to use subscriptions instead of micropayments as a business model, thus erecting barriers to free navigation. Other dangers come from the craze for "portal" sites that guide users based on kickbacks instead of customer value: when links are determined by the size of payments instead of editorial judgment, users get cheated and benefit less from the Web.

--Jakob Nielsen
Read the rest in AlertBox

June 13, 1998

It's up to the users to press them to stick to the rules. Left to their own devices we'll have MS-XML and NS-XML, neither of which will pass any parser, let alone any validator.

Write to Microsoft and Netscape and ask them to obey the rules.

--Peter Flynn on the XML-L mailing list

June 12, 1998
As soon as XML catches on and a good fraction of sites use it, standards will emerge and search engines will be able to use that information. [But] until the exact uses of XML are made clear, it is indeed pure speculation."

--Louis Monier, Altavista
Read the rest in Wired

June 11, 1998
I have to admit that when I first started out on this path, I wanted to strip XML down to its barest syntactical foundations - what I call simple XML - and rebuild the DTD syntax, entities and all. The more I've looked at DTDs, with help from many of the contributors on this list, the less I wanted to rebuild the entire structure. DTDs do too damn many things, not all of them well. (In this regard, they remind me very much of HTML, actually.)

--Simon St. Laurent on the xml-dev mailing list

June 10, 1998

Authoring is in something of a crisis, because there does not exist a good mass-market tool which allows people to author re-purposable documents simultaneously for paper and the Web (while leaving the door open for re-use on the Next Big Medium to come along). XML isn't the whole answer, but I think it's pretty self-evidently one of the pieces of the solution. So to answer Dave's question:

  • It should be as easy and pleasant to use as MS Word
  • It should proactively help you author in line with the machine-readable document design (which for now means DTD)
  • It should prevent you from stepping outside the bounds of the document design
  • Unless, of course, you really want to, and are prepared to update the document design
  • It should make it real easy to deliver on the Web
  • It should make it real easy to deliver print

Deliver that product and you can probably build your own palace on the lakefront.

--Tim Bray on xml-dev

June 6, 1998
When I speak to friends and relatives who are not in this business about the growth of the Internet in their lives, they never mention the big brands that dominate industry trade coverage, except to complain occasionally about AOL or grump about Bill Gates' net worth. They talk about looking up train schedules, tracking storms, finding baseball statistics, perusing stock prices, and keeping in touch with relatives around the world. They are virtually unaware of the branding of the search engines. They do not know what a banner ad is. They are unexcited about e-commerce, except for its popular by-product: the ability to search vast databases for book titles, records, and the like.

--Tom Watson in @NY 3, 40

June 5, 1998
xml:lang is a fuzzy can of fuzzy worms. It's a nice thing to have in the spec because it makes humans comfortable. Wave xml:lang="klingon" over the top of your document (i.e. 'add' it to the root element) and it 'applies to' every child element, unless overridden by other xml:langs.

--Peter Murray-Rust on the xml-dev mailing list

June 4, 1998
Free-DOM (and its predecessor SAXDOM) are being used by thousands of people around the world. I was surprised to find that most of them live in the heart of Mongolia where Java is considered manly and practiced between horse hopping and sword dances. XML is considered more mundane since the government of Mongolia is currently considering whether to adopt XML as their national language. To 'speak' XML, you use arm jestures for elements and finger jestures for attributes. Entities are spoken with a foot striking specific regions of the listener thus utilizing pain as part of the language. DTD subsets are indicated by rolling their eyes before and after.

--Don Park on the xml-dev mailing list

June 3, 1998
XML just says "use me to define an element type called AUTHOR, containing text". The nature of that text, where it comes from, what it matches, etc are not definable in XML's own terms: they are left to your processing software simply because the range of things people want to do with information is just too vast. XML provides the hooks you can use to identify an author: what you do with the name is your own business.

--Peter Flynn on the XML-L mailing list

June 2, 1998

it is easy to tell if something can easily be made into RDF. Here's the test: if what you are building can be expressed as a bunch of 3-tuples

(object, propertyname, propertyvalue)

then it's RDF-able. Otherwise it's not.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

June 1, 1998
Hmm, this line of thought may be perpetuating what I see as one of the shortcomings of DTDs, namely that the DTD has to describe the whole document, i.e. a class of languages. What about partial validation/constraints? I think it's important that child-of-DTD support compond documents & partial validation. So in the terms above, maybe these things define sets of elements and attributes, rather than whole documents.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

May 31, 1998

'Documents' in the traditional sense are still popular, but I don't know how much longer we'll really be working with them. I think fragments, subsets, and combinations are going to be much more popular in the reasonably near future.

Compound documents and partial validation are a fact of life, or will be once XML, XLink, and XPointer receive more widespread usage.

--Simon St. Laurent on the xml-dev mailing list

May 30, 1998
In a networked world the traditional SGML distinction between local "names" and external "identifiers" is much less powerful than for non-networked document distribution. The XML namespaces draft is actually quite conservative in that it does not do away with the distinction between names and identifiers. And it is conservative in that it cleanly uses PIs (hoorray!) and so does not complicate any future element/attribute/entity solutions people come up with as the "namespace" issue is thought about more deeply in the WWW context. And it is conservative in that it fits in with the standard markup declaration. (Compare this with RDF's current disregard!!!)

--Rick Jelliffe on the xml-dev mailing list

May 29, 1998
I travel on the railway a lot and often compare what we are doing to what our ancestors did 150 years ago. [In Paris we were next to the oldest railway station which was built in a circle so the trains could turn round.] XML is 4' 8.5" - no more - a standard gauge on which all our rolling stock must run. Whether we run steam, diesel, electric, atmospheric is not defined. Namespaces are nitroglycerine. Without its power no one could have blasted through the mountain ranges. Initially it was highly dangerous, but essential. Later Nobel tamed it with kieselguhr. It is much less dangerous - but care is still needed. If anyone thinks they can today cut-and-paste XML subsets between namespaces with abandon their documents will explode with regularity. In a years time we shall have tamed them, so long as we use the right tools and think about what we are doing.

--Peter Murray-Rust on the xml-dev mailing list

May 28, 1998
Microsoft: Office banks on HTML. Where does the vendor with the largest share of the editorial marketplace plan to take XML editing? Not very far, evidently.

--Liora Alschuler
Read the rest on xml.com

May 27, 1998
Everyone I talk to agrees that XML-Data contains some good ideas but altogether too much stuff.

--Tim Bray on the xml-dev mailing list

May 26, 1998
...no-one is happy about namespaces. Maybe I should leave it to Jon himself to speak his piece, but in the panel session on the current status of the standards (SGML + XML) he said that XML was almost stopped in its tracks by the W3C because other working groups claimed that the XML group was not giving them what they needed. Namespaces was more or less forced on them (he didn't actually say the words 'ad hoc solution' but that was the flavour) and there are a lot of problems with it.

--Simon North reporting on the xml-dev mailing list from SGML/XML 98 Paris

May 17, 1998
This is a recurring theme in the whole of current IT/CS - there are 'right' solutions that people simply are not able to comprehend or find too difficult to adopt. In those cases one ends up with a small number of people who provide a solution (often at high cost) to a large number of people who don't understand an don't own it. IMO the single most important thing about XML is that it makes things accessible to at least a hundred times more people than other technologies. We are seeing this debate frequently now - 'what does XML do that XYZ doesn't?' My answer is that it can relate to ordinary hackers - and possibly even to inspired management.

--Peter Murray-Rust on the xml-dev mailing list

May 16, 1998
Bound books are really only the containers of intellectual property. Publishers sell bound books because they are the ideal (or close to ideal) containers for that property. Try to put that same content online, and it's like trying to sell gasoline in a gunny sack. People won't buy it, because it's not how they like it.

--Pete Loshin on the Computer Book Publishing List

May 14, 1998
Page fidelity is neither a requirement nor a goal. Presented with the same document and the same stylesheet, a given renderer should always produce the same results. Different renderers should produce similar results.

--Requirements for XSL

May 13, 1998

Being a web designer working with HTML, DHTML, CSS1 (soon CSS2, I hope), JavaScript, SQL, Transact/SQL, CFML, Java, JavaBeans, and God knows what else (PhotoShop? Debabelizer? Dreamweaver?), I have this to say:

My brain is full.

I love the capability of XML. It is a web designer's dream come true. It's flexible, scalable, and relatively easy to learn. I simply do not have the time or the brain space available to spend months (years?) learning SGML. Neither do I want to. So, from my point of view, the separation of XML and SGML, at least on the surface, is a very good thing.

--Charles Munat on the XML-L mailing list

May 11, 1998
XML does more than any comparable Web specification to allow linguistic minorities to maintain their language in the face of the other, inevitable changes like mobility and cheap communication. XML is not the frontrunner of cultural colonialism -- it is a moderating factor (albeit a small one).

--Paul Prescod on XML-DEV

May 10, 1998
Right now XML has allowed us to take a huge step forward in overhauling the production of PC World Online, and it's laying the groundwork for a very flexible and expansive data store that will be the backbone of PC World Online for years to come.

--Matt Turner, Applications Development Group Manager at PC World Online
Read the rest in Stating the Obvious

May 9, 1998

If you are worried about file size, then compress your files.

Tags, being short strings commonly used, compress really nicely with the common compression algorithms out there.

--Rick Jelliffe on XML-DEV

May 7, 1998
I don't know if it's too early to recommend XML - it really depends on your timeframe for the project. If you need to deploy in 1998, it probably is too early. If you're planning for 1999 or 2000, it may well be reasonable.

--Simon St. Laurent on the XML-L mailing list

May 6, 1998
XML browsers will one day provide more or less instant gratification for Jane Schmoe. She will still have to endure an extra level of abstraction, understanding and responsibility, but at least she can have her web page up and running in an evening. At that point, SGML/XML will have really rounded a corner. Right now, it merely seems to have done so, because it is the media's interest to promote it as such. And of course it will be similarly in their benefit to report and perhaps exaggerate the backlash.

--Paul Prescod on the xml-dev mailing list

May 5, 1998
Interchange formats are in direct opposition with market control. Basically, if your users can use my product's data, then they can use your tool instead of mine, too. And we can't have that. So we either have to own/control the standard, or choose not to rely on a standard. Anything else gives you a piece of my market.

--Chuck Shotton
Read the rest on scripting.com

May 4, 1998
Perpetually obsolescing and thus losing all data and programs every 10 years (the current pattern) is no way to run an information economy or a civilization.

--Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog
Read the rest in Wired

May 3, 1998
I don't think it serves any purpose to be secretive. I have certainly always believed that the more people knew what was going on, the greater the chance of success. Publishing work in progress will enable the user and vendor community to respond more rapidly when the thing is finally published, and will harness the resources of a wider group of people to spot the errors. I find it a little disappointing, now that there is no cost argument to prevent open dissemination, that W3C should (apparently) have a policy of secrecy which goes beyond anything I ever encountered in ISO or ANSI or X/Open or OMG committees. Perhaps the problem is that they would be deluged by feedback, but I doubt it.

--Michael Kay on the XML-DEV mailing list

May 1, 1998
The Web is not a library, it is a TV network posing as a library. So i18n efforts through W3C will be prioritized by market value: Europe, then CJK, then anything else that is easy.

--Rick Jelliffe on the XML-DEV mailing list

April 30, 1998
Designing a Web site is kind of like arranging furniture in a new house: you never quite get it right the first time. And somehow, even after you realize the mistakes, the hassle of moving everything around again a few weeks later doesn't feel quite worth the trouble. So you live with a coffee table that's slightly off center and a couch that's 23.7 percent too big for the room.

--Dan Shafer
Read the rest on builder.com

April 28, 1998
It was like a visit by Don Corleone. I expected to find a bloody computer monitor in my bed the next day.

--Marc Andreesen on a visit from Microsoft
Read the rest in Wired

April 26, 1998
Individuals and companies holding software patents may assert that software code violates their patent rights. Sometimes these assertions are well founded. In other cases, however, such assertions are without merit, either because the patent is invalid (for example, because it was invented by someone else and/or disclosed in publications --prior art-- before the date of the alleged invention) or because patent holders contend their patents cover software which was not part of the original invention, if any, and try to impermissably extend the scope of the claims. This behavior is an abuse of the patent system and a drag on software development. It will be incumbent upon the development community to squash invalid patents and help ensure that patent claims are enforced only to the extent that they are valid and reflect the actual scope of the invention.

--Netscape, patents and mozilla.org

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Copyright 1998 Elliotte Rusty Harold
Last Modified December 18, 1998