Microsoft backing meant XML killed SGML?
20:03, 17 Nov 1999 UTC | Edd Dumbill

Among the various threads provoked by Don Park's SML proposal is a discussion considering that XML has killed SGML off.

David Megginson suggested that it would have been fine too if SGML had won and XML died, a better situation than stalemate at any rate. Len Bullard begged to differ, claiming that "XML won because Microsoft backed it. Plain and simple... the money voted for a name change and a change of venue ... Same dumb stuff, just cheaper and better integrated into the windowing system and the network."

Bullard continues to agree with Megginson that XML's success was primarily an economic one, rather than a technical one.

Keeping up with the SML debate takes some effort, but is interesting for what it reveals about the differing positions of users and proponents of XML. One of the more pointed comments was delivered by Steve Champeon, arguing against the philosophy that programmers must know everything about XML in order to use it: "It's been almost two years since I was part of this list, and it's odd to come back to it only to find the same endless discussions of whether or not XML should be easy. Of course it should."

He concludes: "It doesn't harm anyone if the tools are abstracted to the point of usability, does it?"

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