Balisage Paper: XML on the Web
R. Alexander Miłowski
University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics
In the beginning, many presumed we would move to a world where XML documents and the applications that processed them would proliferate across the Web. The Web looked like a bright place for markup; technologies like XSLT made their way into the browser and linking standards were on their way. Yet, it didn’t happen. As browsers strengthened their ability to process information, render HTML documents, display media assets, and deliver applications, the role of XML was either pushed to the other side or used as a way to deliver data to applications within the browser via AJAX. The potential mismatches between the wants of the Web developer and the generic, impoverished nature of the DOM led to the development of JSON. In places where they might once have used XML, web developers have moved in droves to using JSON and HTML. XML has been removed from its role to convey data to applications, shunted to the server, and labeled legacy by many. With an uphill, generational challenge to bring it back within favor, the fundamental question is: Do we really want XML on the Web?