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From Daniel Dekany <>
Subject Re: What's the ideal syntax? Was: [ANN] Viento - WHY?
Date Sun, 09 Oct 2005 14:27:38 GMT
Sunday, October 9, 2005, 5:47:47 AM, Jason Pettiss wrote:

> Actually there were plenty of choices developed over the years.

That meant to sulfil the role of HTML? What? BTW, when something is so
widely adopted than HTML, it will be very hard for another technology to
replace it. The initial resistance is just too high, because HTML is
already everywhere and known be a lot of people. Also, for HTML there
are dozens of tools available.

Anyway, my point is not that HTML is bad or not, but that technologies
are often not winning because of technical superiority, but because of
marketing and other "political" thing. So that something is widely
adopted doesn't mean that it was the best technology or that it is good
at all.

> Remember, HTML is just a subset variant of SGML,

(To be precise, it's not. It's an SGML application. XML is a subset of

> which itself is just an
> arbitrary markup format.  XML is also a subset of that.  But what's 
> peculiar about HTML from every other markup format up to that point 
> (early 90's we're talking here) is that HTML was and is incredibly lax
> in its rules.  None of the others were.  This was new.  And HTML took 
> off rapidly.

I guess the lax rules come from how the first popular browsers has
implemented HTML... it was the decision of the authors of those
browsers, right? Because according the "standard" HTML rules are not
lax. So when those browser (Mosaic, early Netscape? I don't know) become
widespread, then HTML rules become lax in practice... but again, then it
was most certainly just the decision of few programmer guys.

BTW, I have noticed that the browsers that support XHTML
(Mozilla/FireFox and Opera; IE doesn't support real XHTML, not even the
incoming IE7) just show an error page if an XHTML is not well-formed
(note that they will not handle XHTML as that if you serve it as
text/html). However, they don't care of validity (isn't it silly?).

> Javascript hasn't always been around, and many other scripting languages
> preceded it.  (Think of all the microsoft variants, for example, which
> are still as -- dislikable -- as always.)  But Javascript is the one 
> that really took off with the general public.  And the most insanely 
> lax-- to the point of being broken some might say...
> You are absolutely right. Popular was indeed a bad word choice.  Perhaps
> I meant "widely accepted", or "used by the masses".  I certainly didn't
> mean "good" or "beautiful"... the technological winners throughout 
> history have very rarely been the ones the engineers would pick.  
> They're just the best compromise between competing interests, which 
> generally makes them "ugly" solutions in the eyes of an engineer.
> Rail against it if you wish, but the types of people working with 
> content will decreasingly be technical in nature, as template technology
> becomes better.  As time goes on you will increasingly have to support
> the needs of, well as you say it, the obese, stupid, psycho types.

Well people often like things that actually make life more difficult for

> Don't think that they're going to bend over backwards to understand the
> intricacies of meta-syntax or the difference between a semicolon and a
> comma to a computer program-- they're not.
> They'll simply choose a technology which doesn't require that of them,
> unaware of the hidden dangers of such a shallow choice...

Sure, life is hard...
But anyway, they are not always in the position to choose... :)

> --jason

Best regards,
 Daniel Dekany

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