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From Gianugo Rabellino <>
Subject Re: W3C XML Processing working group
Date Mon, 02 Jan 2006 00:22:55 GMT
On 1/1/06, Michael Wechner <> wrote:
> >
> >I'm not that much interested into yet another DSL expressed in XML,
> >and I don't feel alone at all. Actually I'd much rather drift towards
> >a programmatic pipeline API.
> >
> what do you mean by a programmatic pipeline API?

Uhm, part of the story is on my blog[1] but I'll give you an excerpt
and save you a click ;-)

It strikes me how, in early 2006, people are still thinking that
another XML domain-specific language is the way to go. We are all
learning the hard way how the XML verbiage has been useless and, to
some extents, detrimental: from Jelly onwards (and yes, I deserve some
blame as well) it became crystal clear how programming in XML leads to
unmaintainable, opaque and unreadable stuff. The fake myth that XML
can be written by grandmas, coupled with the low entry barrier in
creating new languages (no compiler's compiler needed, yay!) has
produced a plethora of half-baked solutions that just don't get how
grandmas aren't going to code anyway, while angle brackets get heavily
in the way of anyone who understands even just the basics of

Now, don't get me wrong: XML is great when properly used. That is,
data (some grandmas might even write data at a certain point),
information interchange and tool-oriented stuff. But please, pretty
please, when talking about programming (that is, data processing and
component connections), take those angle brackets out of the picture
and give us the power of effective syntaxes. There might be some
exceptions: transformation languages such as XSLT, having to deal with
XML all the way, are consistently expressed in XML, but that's not the
case for XML pipelines.

Pipelines are about connecting, chaining, concatenating: there's
nothing there that needs XML to be expressed. It's meta-XML, in a way,
a side order to the main XML dish. What we (well, I at least) need are
APIs: a standard and effective way to tie XML processing components
together so that data manipulation can work in a multistage
environment. We then need some machinery around it that provides
transparent adapters between the different XML processing world (SAX,
DOM, StAX) and we could definitely use some services (logging,
management, security) on top of it. But we don't need XML for that. We
might want to use it at a later point, as a sort of wrapper around the
pipeline language if, and only if, there is a clear need for tooling
that could use a well-established and easy to parse data format, but
please save our aging eyes and our carpal tunnels from angle brackets
whenever possible.

Gianugo Rabellino
Pro-netics s.r.l. -
Orixo, the XML business alliance:
(blogging at

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