[Oberon] Re. XML; was Re^2: DAV WebDAV.1.1.0 released

easlab at absamail.co.za easlab at absamail.co.za
Thu Oct 14 07:18:23 CEST 2004

> cg> ... much reference to XML. I've always had negative attitude to
>     over use of HTML.  XML seem to be more of the same ?
Peter Easthope wrote:
> Naive observer comments,
> 1. Over the years, there have been complaints that an Oberon 
> Text uses hidden characters to specify format.  
> HTML and XML use visible characters to specify format.
> 2. There have been complaints that the hidden formatting 
> characters followed a syntax which is not published.
> The syntaces of HTML and XML are published by the W3C.  
> http://www.w3.org/
> 3. An Oberon Text is not properly formatted when viewed in a 
> non-Oberon system.
> A non-Oberon system can open HTML fairly well.  Perhaps XML 
> eventually also.
Yes, if the user-base of n-o [and descendants] could be 
maintained/expanded, this could amortise the XML development
costs.   I guess up till now ETH student projects have 'built' the n-o aps ?

> 4. Oberon does not have a pdf viewer.
Why should n-o cater for Adobe which AFAIK is not an ISO standard ?
IMO pdf is like M$-word and top-posters !

My log re. a document which was/is vitally important for me:
linux ->
pdftotext  7403.pdf  7403fdpTxt  == looks OK 
   -> copy to n-o file for analyses !

-rw-r--r--    1 root     root       187752 Oct  9 21:54 7403.pdf
-rw-r--r--    1 root     root        80366 Oct  9 22:15 7403fdpTxt

n-o size after extensive 'colouring' = 83836

I guess the pdf 'formatting' which this doc. had, eg. 'raised' small
font 'foot note numbers' etc. could be done by n-o's html format
in 85KB size.

So it looks to me as if pdf added 233% for 'formatting', and 
n-o would acheive the same with 6%.

But actually the size aspect is irrelevant, compared to the fact
that under n-o I can 'suck the document into my brain' like no
other text presentation system I've ever before experienced.
Why else would I convert from pdf to n-o manipulate-able ?
The extreme ability to 'massage' the text effortlessly adds great

This can't be explained by tecnnical considerations, but involves
psychology, cognition ...etc. which we're not trained in.
You can't make a calculation to prove that JS Bach is 'superior' to
'my boy lollipop'.

The fact that military aircraft [where the best is used] have 
heads-up-control: look at the 'target' and have 'natural'
hand controls; is IMO relevant.

> XML with CSS and W3C languages for specific purposes such as 
> vector graphics, probably have greater capabilities than pdf.
Yes. But that's the wrong question: capability is a technical
attribute. What really counts [once the gee-wizz novelty factor 
is over] is the utility: i.e. how it makes humans more effective.

> Therefore XML might not be so bad.

Well, I'm waiting.  I still remember the predictions for *.net
- was it called ?   An old time UseNet contributor calls these fads
"christmas wrappings" for garbage.
It's easy to get carried away with the style and find there's no

== Chris Glur

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