My fellow blogger, M. David Peterson posted a very informative blog in relation to Jeff Atwood’s rant on XML. It is a great article, and quite a treat from Mark’s usual concise style. I have deep respect for Mark’s technical skills and he has some very valid points about the true nature of XML. If anyone has seen the ups and downs of semantic tags, it is M. There is no specific piece that I can pick apart. Unfortunately, it is also wrong. Dead wrong.
M. says that Jeff is right. Then he says Dare Obasanjo is also right. Logically two opposing arguments can NOT both be correct. Don’t get me wrong: on the technical aspects, everyone has a compelling perception that is tough to dispute. And I also believe the argument itself is important, so we all get our ideas out in the open for discussion. However, both opinions CAN both be false.
Have you ever seen the Star Trek episode where they trie to disable an android by telling it “Everything I say is a lie. I am lying. Am I a liar or not?” The theory is that a computer would have problems with this logic because if Spock was lying ABOUT lying then he must be telling the truth. I have never understood the conundrum- it was clear to me Spock was not telling the whole truth. Simple: if you are misleading me, then you are lying.
My problem is that everyone is missing the forest for the trees: Jeff is lying. Again: do not get me wrong - I think Jeff is a great writer and I have subscribed to coding horror for YEARS. And the stack overflow project he is doing with Joel Spolsky is pure genius. But he is still not telling the whole truth. You see, a while back Jeff found the Holy Grail in blogging: he now makes enough money to do it full time. Since then, I worried that Jeff may have jumped the shark. Some recent articles had quite a few Amazon links in them, and I am not sure I would recommend the same products he has on blogs. However- I am not complaining that Jeff has advertising - he does it very tastefully and it is usually clear which he actually recommends. I DO think that perhaps he may be raising an issue just to stir up the bee’s nest.
I can not believe, after all these years of supporting developers, Jeff suddenly discovers that XML is ‘taxing’. Jeff even later did a post on how ‘bad’ PHP is. Any tool you pick can be used wrongly, and XML is no different. I think we all may be turning this non-issue into a frenzy.
And that is where Jeff is RIGHT. If this helps him earn more money, so he can continue creating great articles, that is a GOOD thing.