Why is XML much more popular than LISP and Scheme?

As I read Extensible Programming for the 21st Century, I pondered the secret of success of XML. In a way, I am already using XML software (glade, the GUI editing tool, saves the edited GUI description in a XML file, which can later be read by a Python library and used to construct the GUI for a script).

After all, it can be considered to be just another syntactic representation of LISP or Scheme. For example, the transformation between
(+ 1 2)

   <token name="+"/>
   <token name="1"/>
   <token name="2"/>

is trivial.

My guess is that XML succeeds because it allows the developer to add types to S expressions and to constrain them and their contents. This is like imposing hard-typedness on variables and/or their values in a conventional programming language. XML works because the developer can give different names to his expressions besides the equivalent of naming every tag <paren>.

As a proof of concept, it may be a good idea to develop a XML representation of a script in a popular scripting language (such as Python), along with code for transforming the script between its language and the language’s XML representation.

Author: Omer Zak

I am deaf since birth. I played with big computers which eat punched cards and spew out printouts since age 12. Ever since they became available, I work and play with desktop size computers which eat keyboard keypresses and spew out display pixels. Among other things, I developed software which helped the deaf in Israel use the telephone network, by means of home computers equipped with modems. Several years later, I developed Hebrew localizations for some cellular phones, which helped the deaf in Israel utilize the cellular phone networks. I am interested in entrepreneurship, Science Fiction and making the world more accessible to people with disabilities.

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