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From Arnaud Le Hors <leh...@us.ibm.com>
Subject Re: XML-HTML-XHTML-WML-VXML.........**ML
Date Sat, 10 Jun 2000 01:50:22 GMT
Douglass Turner wrote:
> A fundemental feature of XML that has not been mentioned is that it allows
> the design of a custom domain specific language that includes crucial meta
> data, something HTML is incapable of.

Just for the sake of getting things straight, this last statement is
simply wrong. With HTML 4.0, through the use of the elements SPAN and
DIV you can do that! Indeed, although they're most commonly used just to
hold style information nothing prevent you from using them to add
"semantic" to your document. All you have to do is use the class
attribute to store the element name you would use. So you could easily
have something like:

<div class='person'>
   <div class='first-name'>Arnaud</div>
   <div class='last-name'>Le Hors</div>
   <div class='gender'>male</div>

By the same token, it is wrong to state that HTML is only about
presentation. Again, HTML 4.0 along with CSS allows you to clearly
separate the structure from the presentation.

This said, XML clearly gives you much more freedom in how you can
organize your data and is therefore better suited for handling data in

> You could then make domain specific queries and searches that would yield
> far more accurate results then the woefull mess that currently exists with
> HTML based search engines.

Things aren't that easy though. XML by itself is far from being enough
to make search engines much smarter. Until people come up with common
markup that search engines developers can use to make their program
smarter about the information they look into, they will be just as much
clueless as they are today. What's great with XML is that anyone can
create his/her own markup. But that only makes search engines harder to
implement. With HTML at least everybody knows what <p> means. With XML
it could be <para> or <paragraph> just as well. Nobody knows... XML is
only a syntax. It doesn't carry any semantic by itself...
Arnaud  Le Hors - IBM Cupertino, XML Technology Group

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