Subject: Re: The horror that is XML
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Wed, 06 Mar 2002 00:37:01 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Kenny Tilton
| I haven't seen what the Economist has to say, but XML /will/ be the next
| big thing if it works out as a lingua franca for data exchange. Not
| saying XML does not suck from the syntax standpoint, just that syntax
| can be fixed or (more likely) hidden.

  XML would not be so bad as it is if it were possible to pin down how to
  represent it in the memory of a computer.  At this time, the most common
  suggestion is _vastly_ worse than anything a Common Lisp programmer would
  whip up in a drunken stupor.  DOM, SAX, XSLT, whatever the hell these
  moreons are re-inventing, XML _could_ have been a pretty simple and
  straight-forward syntax for a pretty simple and straight-forward external
  representation of in-memory objects.  This is manifestly _not_ the case,
  since so much irrelevant crap has to be carried around in order to output
  the same XML you read in.

  There are certain mistakes people who have been exposed to Common Lisp
  are not likely to make when it comes to mapping internal and external
  representations of various object types.  Every single one of those
  mistakes has been made by the XML crowd, which is not very surprising,
  considering the intense disdain for computer science that underlies the
  SGML community -- they wanted to save their documents from the vagaries
  of application programmers!  Instead, they went into exactly the same
  trap as every retarded application programmer has fallen into with their
  eyes closed.  And of _course_ Microsoft thinks it is so great -- XML
  embodies the same kinds of mistakes that they are known for in their
  proprietary unreadable "document" formats.  All in all, a tragedy that
  could have been avoided if they had only listened to people who knew how
  computer scientists had been thinking about the same problem before them
  -- but they would never listen, SGML was a political creation from before
  it was born, and nobody should tell them how to do their stuff after it
  had been standardized, lest it be deemed to have errors and mistakes...
  Instead, we get anti-computer anti-scientists meddling with stuff they
  have no hope of ever getting right, and certainly not be able to fix.

  XML will go down with Microsoft, whose Steve Ballmer has now threatened
  to withdraw Windows XP from the market and not do any more "innovation"
  because of the demands made by the government lawsuits!  Next, we will
  see organized crime barons around the world threaten to stop trafficking
  drugs if the police do not stop harassing them.  That would certainly
  stop the world economy!  Steve Ballmer has once again demonstrated why
  the evil that is Microsoft must be stopped _before_ it acquires enough
  power to actually hurt anyone by making such threats.

  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.