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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • by jjohn (22) on 2002.01.15 19:15 (#3218) Homepage Journal

    I'm happy to have provided some talking points and perhaps a minor distraction from Bigger Things with my rant. Lest hfb get beat up too much for agreeing with, let me make the following points:

    • XML as Rosetta Stone XML excels as a medium of data exchange. That is, XML makes the process of moving information from one application into another much simpler. I had a job at CareerSearch [] in which I had to deal with DBF, CSV and fixed positional ASCII files of all kinds. If the data had all been in XML, it would have simplified many problems (although not eliminated them). XML's hype is fading as people learn what it's good for and, more importantly, what it's not good for.
    • SQL not XML Quering XML docs with DBI seems daft to me. Get the data into an SQL system where God Almighty indeeded it to be (unless the kind of queries are trivial). That's why Him invented indexing for databases.
    • Flat-chested tools My gripe is less with XML proper and more with the lack of well developed docbook tools, hence my pining for a "docbook browser." Abiword does support docbook to some extend. I wonder if it supports xsl stylesheets?
    • Think of the end-users O'Reilly's internal tool support for docbook is less developed than their support for MS Word and Framemaker. There are folks in the Tools group there that can deftly handle docbook, but copy and production editors need better WYSIWYG tools.
    • Hey, look! A wheel! I want to write documents in XML and have them magically turn into manpages, HTML or PDF. That's not too much to ask; many other text-based markup languages have been doing that for years. I'm greatly disappointed that the XML crowd seems to be reinventing the wheel on this one.
    • Perl leads the way Life is very, very short. Too short for the overhead of managing DTD files and catalogs. That's exactly the kind of madness that C programmers face (think: header, lib and shared lib files). DTD management needs to be more like CPAN. DWIM.

    Of course, I'm really just blowing off steam. There are good uses of XML and I have hope that the tools will mature this year.

    • Sorry about the typos and what not in the last post. My net connection was getting flaky and I couldn't risk a "review". Hey Nandor, how's the XML-RPC interface to slash coming? I could have writing this in emacs... :-)