Other things I don't get (WAS: Re: A Joeish Erlang distributi on (long))

Shawn Pearce <>
Wed Jan 29 20:59:25 CET 2003

Vlad Dumitrescu <> wrote:
> Having also struggled with XML, but in it's proper environment, I have to
> say that there it does it's job well. The proper environment is text
> processing. The predecessor SGML has been used for more than 20 years with
> success, and I think that the heavy users won't switch to XML.

Yes.  SGML is great for text, and for those who thought HTML was
good for text, XML is better than HTML, but I doubt SGML will be
replaced.  I'd guess most SGML installs stick with SGML.

XML's biggest win for me has always been in marking up text as
XML and turning it into HTML or other XML document formats for
other document tools to read.  But XML as a configuration file
format or an application control file, or a log file, its never
been helpful.

Perhaps the only use I've seen is that if a file is stored in
a structured format, and is mostly text data, XML helps in that
although the grammer is unknown, you can at least find a tool that
will tokenize the file for you.  I've got a commerical software tool
here that we bought which outputs data in XML.  If it had been a binary
file, I would have been up a creek trying to tokenize the file into
something meaningful without docs.  With XML, at least I can grab an
XML parser and tokenize it.

> It really isn't XML's fault that it has been abused to the extent it became
> just as bad as the things it was supposed to replace. But it isn't our fault
> either to have to fight with it... Oh, well, life isn't fair!

That's the fault of Dave Winer.  He started SOAP by finding out XML
and HTTP were just made for each other somehow.  :)


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