Easy-to-Write Programs

Specifically, we wanted it to be straightforward to create useful XML programs that did not depend on reading the DTD. We were ambitious, and declared that "easy" meant that the holder of a CS bachelor's degree ought to be able to write basic XML processing machinery in less than a week.

The motivation here is obvious - data formats succeed or fail depending on whether there are good tools available. If the format is easy to process, good tools will be available; otherwise not.

The processor-in-a-week goal has proved elusive, so in that respect we failed to meet this design goal at a quantitative level. However, the fact that within months of the appearance of the first drafts of the XML spec, there were a substantial number of freeware XML processors on the market serves as evidence that perhaps we did meet our goal, qualitatively.

Back-link to spec

Copyright © 1998, Tim Bray. All rights reserved.