Shoehorning XML

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"As the flashbulbs burst, she holds a smile like someone would hold a crying child."
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Posted on January 20, 2005 12:22 AM in XML
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

It's a little crazy how I keep blogging about specific topics and then seeing them covered on a much grander scale in the next couple of days. I recently asked the question "is XML getting old?," in a sort of tongue-in-cheek way, mostly because I realize just how powerful XML really is. Then today I see the question "are extensible programming languages coming?" being posed on Slashdot.

As is usually the case, the most interesting thing about that particular question is some of the answers and/or comments that Slashdotters have posted. For instance, a user called "eln" writes:

XML now is what OOP was 15 years ago: Useful for some things, but shoehorned into every possible application, whether it actually made any sense or not, and whether or not it made things easier or more difficult.

I think the guy (girl?) has a point. XML does get chosen a lot more nowadays when in the past it might not have been. However, I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing. If everybody starts using XML, it's kinda like everyone all of a sudden deciding to code their web pages in accordance with web standards. Sure, the functionality may seem transparent to the end-user, and there might be a little more space involved (well, with the former...probably not the latter), but in the end you've got a whole bunch of applications/websites that can play nice together – whether that means exchanging data with the help of some simple XSL transformations or being viewable in the same standards-compliant browser.

I have to admit, though, I think the idea of an XML-based programming language is a little far-fetched. There is definitely a middle-ground here that a little common sense should help to uncover.

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