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Subject: Tim Bray's "On XML Language Design"

Hi -

Today, I was catching up on one of Erik Hennum's recent articles on RDF discourse models (http://www.idealliance.org/papers/extreme/Proceedings/html/2006/Hennum01/EML2006Hennum01.html).

One of Erik's references led to a recent post by Tim Bray called "On XML Language Design" -


At first this Bray article seemed like a nice easy read, then it hit me - in this DITA sub-committee on learning and training content, this is *exactly* what we're doing - we're designing an XML language.

At that point, I started reading the Tim Bray article much more closely,

It opens with this piece of advice:

        "If you're doing to be designing a new XML language, first of all, consider not doing it."

That grabs your attention pretty fast.

Then it goes into some excellent obversations and discussion about syntax-oriented approaches vs. model-centric, minimalism vs. completeness, evolution vs. stability.

Bray really comes down strong on keeping it simple, on being sure to design something you can implement and deploy, because it's only when you've done this that you start to understand what it is you're designing.

In any case, when we get to thinking about how to actually design the DITA specialization for learning content, it would be wise to consider some of the advice in this Tim Bray article.

John Hunt
IBM DITA Learning Architect

Lotus Education Development
IBM Software Group
phone: 617.693.5490

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