Subject: Re: writing out lists sharing values From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: 2000/10/05 Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Barry Margolin <email@example.com> | Hmm, I wonder if the XML designers looked at Common Lisp -- those | attributes are suspiciously very similar to #n= and #n#. Well, fwiw, ID and IDREF are from SGML, and not new XMLisms. Their use was originally only to provide more abstract identifications of such things as figures, chapters, etc. The XML crowd has been busy reinventing Lisp for data representation from the start. The reason this pointy-haired syntax ever got off the ground was that SGML makes a lot of sense in a very limited problem domain and like the madman who gets a Phoney Doctor degree in some irrelevant field can claim authority in any other field as far as the TV-commercial-consuming public is concerned, if he is so inclined and understands the machinery of marketing, but he is still a madman and XML is still a pointy-haired syntax. It has all the merits of a standard except that nobody is agreeing on what to do with it. I haven't been able to find the one, truly authoritative reference on XML that isn't subject to some number of amendments that I'm never sure I have the complete set of, either. The SGML designers didn't look at programming languages. At the time, they though programming languages were designed to make life harder for those who wanted to process documents. It wasn't false at the time, but the animosity towards programmers and the desire to "liberate documents from the programmers" caused a number of quite interesting blunders, such as the incredibly botched notion of what constitutes ambiguous grammar productions. But I digress. To answer your question: Wonder not, it wasn't so. The XML crowd is complete unto itself -- it does only exports, no imports of either data or ideas. They're even trying to reinvent the web in their own image. Of course Microsoft would embrace it. I think everything should be expressed in SGML or XML, though, as soon as we're through using it. Let the garbage information of the world be encoded in XML. At least the archeologists of the future will appreciate the way we poured liquid nitrogen over our data and preserved it for eternal posterity with a syntax wholly unsuited to living, evolving information. #:Erik -- If this is not what you expected, please alter your expectations.