A brief, opinionated history of XML

From someone who had a front row seat.

There are a few histories of XML out there, but I still find myself explaining certain points to people surprisingly often, so I thought I’d write them down. If you don’t want to read this whole thing, I’ll put the moral of the story right at the top:

Picking XML schemas and tools?

Then first think about your content and users.

At last week’s XML in Practice 2008 conference, I joined Micah Dubinko, Evan Lenz, and Frank Miller for the panel on working with authoring tools and schemas. (Lisa Bos of Really Strategies did a fine job hosting the panel; she should consider doing one of those interview podcast shows.) The panel’s full title mentioned both DITA and DocBook, and while Mark Shellenberger predicted a “cage match,” several people later seemed disappointed that there weren’t more…

Looking forward to XML 2008

And seeing some friends and learning about new developments.

The first time I went to the annual conference that will be called XML-in-Practice 2008 this year (but which I think of as “XML 2008”), it was called SGML ‘95. It grew from there and morphed into an XML conference, and when the dot com boom supported several XML conferences a year, this was the best and biggest. It’s slimmed down over the years, and I hate to admit that I might not go if it was going to be a conference full of strangers, but I know I’ll see some old…

Converting SGML DTDs to XML

Not quite to XML DTDs, but close enough to be useful.

I recently had to analyze a large batch of SGML DTDs for a client who planned to convert their publishing system to XML. I was mostly looking for redundant declarations in multiple DTDs that could be pulled into shared modules, but I also wanted some lists of elements and attributes that I could compare against statistics compiled about sample data so that I could see which elements and attributes were actually being used, because there’s not much point converting SGML declarations for…