Re: Allocated chapter numbers for specific chapter content

Subject: Re: Allocated chapter numbers for specific chapter content
From: "Ned Bedinger" <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 23:27:43 -0700

This post is updating an old topic from September, for anyone who wanted the

A little over a month ago on techwr-l, Mats Broberg asked:

>Correct me if I'm wrong (as I belong to the XML generation), but wasn't
>the problem with SGML that it was an overly complex standard, where 95 %
>of the users used only 5 % of the standard's possibilites, and that this
>fact was one of the problems that eventually led to XML?

In 1997, Tim Bray, the editor of the XML standard, gave us a clue when he
said "SGML and XML ("XML" refers to both from here on in) provide facilities
for declaring document structures."

Eric Dunne and I had a brief discussion on list about Mats' question, and
it didn't last long (such a big question, so little will to digest it all)
but I said at the time that I would chip away at reading the standards and
let him know if/how I think what I said still makes a case.

So, I've spent some time looking at historical XML and SGML. At
this point, stopping short of the tricky area where SGML supposedly can *by
definition* do anything that XML can, I don't have anything to add to the
previous discussion.

I'll just point any interested parties to the web, and suggest that anyone
interested in the history of the XML data
capabilities should start with Tim Bray (1997) ....

and then Google "XML Strong Data Typing", ...

and follow it right on across the web. It's rough sledding as a way to
learn XML, but interesting for the data aspects.

Have fun, but get plenty of sleep.

Ned Bedinger

Edwordsmith Technical Communcaions

From: <eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com>
To: "Ned Bedinger" <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
Cc: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Monday, September 20, 2004 2:50 PM
Subject: Re: Allocated chapter numbers for specific chapter content

> Whoa there!
> Sorry Ned, but despite the big words I have difficulty understanding or
> believing the difference between SGML and XML.

Thanks for stereoscoping my explanation. I'll have to ruminate on what it
reveals, but your identification of 'marketing fluff' is immediately
poignant--my formative exposure to XML virtues and uses was an early B2B
project with strong ulterior marketing overtones. I was enthused, and quite
likely drank too much of the kool-aid.

I'll chip away at reading the standards and let you know if/how I think what
I said still makes a case.

Ned Bedinger
Ed Wordsmith Technical Communications

> Ned Bedinger wrote on 09/20/2004 05:15:15 PM:
> > SGML was devised as a way to describe a
> > document to computers. XML then came
> > along as a way to extend SGML's limited
> > ability to carry the meaning of a
> > document's contents.
> Neither SGML not XML are any different in this regard. Neither is more or
> less suited to data or content markup. Both are the framework for defining
> mark-up languages.


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