In celebration of XML 1.0’s tenth anniversary, I signed back on to XML-DEV to suggest that it’s time to do to XML - just the core of it, please - what XML did to SGML around SGML’s tenth anniversary.
I probably wasn’t clear enough in my original post that I’m not interested in trimming W3C XML Schema or many of the other pieces people and organizations have piled ever-higher on top of XML, but just the core.
I’m guessing - from anecdotal evidence, admittedly - that 90% or more of data-oriented XML systems are only using about 20% of the XML recommendation - the basic element and attribute syntax, plus maybe comments and occasionally processing instructions. Document-oriented applications use more features - but those that need more features could always stick with XML, as some applications stayed with SGML.
As was the case with XML and SGML, it makes sense to me to ensure that whatever this new thing is called can work with the old tools. This isn’t going to be something that opens new possibilities like the XML simplification did, but rather a cleanup job after ten years of experience in seeing how things actually worked out. (A few of us did something similar as Common XML even back in 2000, and I’ve written more on best practices at Monastic XML.)
I’m not convinced that there are enough supporters of this idea for it to go anywhere - I’m planting a seed to see what might come up - but the conversation so far has been interesting. Among other things, I’ve realized that mixed content is the one thing that brings me back to XML (and related markup) instead of just shifting over to JSON for everything. I didn’t expect to learn that about myself from the conversation, but I’d say it’s a useful thing to know. It’s also clear that a lot of people have favorite features that they’d like to insert - something I’ll confess I find terrifying.
I do plan to stay in retirement from XML - I have way too many things going on. Anniversaries have a way of triggering ideas, though!