XML "just small enough" for success
23:43, 14 Nov 1999 UTC | Edd Dumbill

In the ongoing debate initiated by Don Park's SML proposal, Tim Bray provides some history of the XML development process, observing that XML came out "just small enough" to be successful.

Bray, an editor of the XML 1.0 specification, relates that some kind of simplified XML as proposed by Park was mooted by the W3C, but that it never got far because the XML Syntax Working Group failed to achieve consensus as to what it should be: although he does say that all were in agreement about the exclusion of external entities, one of the original bones of contention in this debate.

A refutation of Don Park's SML idea is then given, on the basis that the benefit to an application of merely specifying that it uses XML 1.0 outweighs the cost of having features not used by that application. Bray concludes by saying that XML-related recommendations should be built "insofar as possible, so you can pick and choose and just use the one or two you want without getting yourself into complex dependencies. So far, I think the specs have done a reasonably good job of that. Where they haven't, it should be treated as a bug."

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