SGML's Virtues and Vulnerabilities (again)

Subject: SGML's Virtues and Vulnerabilities (again)
From: "George F. Hayhoe III" <george -dot- hayhoe -at- SRS -dot- GOV>
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 1994 13:46:00 -0400

Just a quick response to Chet Ensign's reaction to my comments on SGML last

The "SOAPBOX = ON" reference was meant to be humorous; Chet--and perhaps
others--perceived it otherwise.

Almost none of the books and articles published about SGML point out the
problems inherent in its 1970s technology which assumes that documents can
be reduced to ASCII text (true of most documents at that time) and that
format can be divorced from a document's meaning. My post was meant to
correct the imbalance to some extent. The workshop paper which I offered to
send to interested parties (and which Chet didn't request) provided a
pretty balanced view of the advantages and disadvantages inherent in
adopting SGML. It also points to the fact that, like it or not, SGML is the
standard for electronic documents today, but that new standards will
undoubtedly emerge as more robust technologies develop.

The bottom line? IMHO, document databases are good things to have, but
let's look forward to the day when we can create them without resorting to
primitive technology and without doing violence to the totality of the
document, which includes its physical appearance.

--George Hayhoe (george -dot- hayhoe -at- srs -dot- gov)
Assistant to the President for Recognition Programs, STC

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