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Re: LOUT and XML

From: Giovanni Zezza
Subject: Re: LOUT and XML
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 23:59:34 +0200

Il Tue, 18 Sep 2001 14:26:00 +0200, Ian Carr-de Avelon scriveva:

>Then you probably don't (yet) have input in some form of industry standard XML
>as a given, and you probably don't have to produce HTML and WML as well as 

This isn't what Lout is about. If you need SGML, then take SGML. Lout is at
end of the chain. First you start with SGML, and then from there you get
HTML, WML, RTF, Lout or whatever. Why should you go the other way around?
And if you should, then you need a lout2something (and you have to write it)
no matters how much XMLish be Lout.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying it wouldn't be great to be able to go
here, there and back again; it would be wonderful indeed. What I'm saying is
you can't achieve this by simply putting some angle brackets here and there
(you know: trolls and wolves and goblins and spiders and Dark Lord... it's
not so simple; in fact, I suspect you can't achieve it, period).

>I agree that for just the coding of human writen documents for 
>printing, Lout's {} is just as good as <>. There, said it. But, in the
>context of work which lots of people have hanging over them, acceptance
>of an alternative XML syntax, for just the people who want it, would get
>us a lot of friends

Maybe, but why? Just because XML is the new magic word (for a while, as
every new magic word), and it's easy to get easy friendship by speaking it;
not because it really shortens learning the language.

XML, in its generality, is at the very bottom of the "syntax" matter (in
fact, I'd rather say it's a lexical constraint). Then you have to learn the
actual "syntax" (the dtd or XML equivalent of it), and I agree that having a
formal notation to describe it does help, but then I don't understand why
XML should be better than BNF (this has a lot of angle brackets, too). Then
you have to learn the semantic, and here is "la ciccia" ("the pulp", what
you have to put your teeth into) as we would say in Italy, and the real
difficult job.

What do you suppose will do all those good friends when they'll realize they
are but at the beginning, and have still to do all the hard work? Yes,
lexical analysis is maybe the first problem, but surely not the most
important and difficult one in learning a language.


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