Sherman Oaks Drought problems Re “Villaraigosa threatens mandatory water cuts” (Dec. 11): Is the mayor going to limit or stop construction within the city until the drought is over? I don’t think so. New construction uses copious amounts of water. Usually, in Los Angeles, replacing older buildings means building bigger buildings. In both cases, the construction site will use more water then before. Unless part of the approval for the construction identifies, and pays for new, not previously used, sources of water the building(s) will be adding to our drought problems. – Irving Leemon Northridge Spending money Re “LAUSD pays for fliers backing mayor’s plan,” and “$4.7 million more may go to fixes of payroll system” (Dec. 11): Many weeks ago, the LAUSD spent millions fighting the mayor’s takeover of the L.A. schools. Now, it is helping him do it? Does anyone in the Los Angeles Unified School District know what they are doing, except spending money? Were not the teachers getting paid before LAUSD decided to spend $21million on a new payroll system? The LAUSD is too big and is just wasting our kids’ money? All you have to do is look at the above and Belmont High School to see that! Whatever happened to Belmont, by the way? Are we still wasting money there? – William Conroy Northridge Too much to ask? Regarding the proposed telephone-user tax referendum and the desire of the Department of Water and Power to raise water and power rates, I have only one concern. I would be happy to help if these agencies who come to us taxpayers for handouts would once show us they care about good stewardship of our resources. How about them taking the time to look at spending and using zero-based budgeting (a top to bottom audit of how a department can save money) to show us that they are doing all they can to spend our money wisely? Would that be too much for us, who are paying their salary, to ask? – Rev. Mark J. Jaufmann Woodland Hills Evil disclosure The editorial “Point, set, match” (Dec. 10) asserts the “public clearly has the right to know” the names, positions and salaries of Department of Water and Power employees. The Daily News editors fell into the cesspool of immorality when they exposed the private salary information of DWP employees – good, hard-working people who don’t negotiate salaries – to the world. Evil was victorious. The Daily News lost its moral compass. It was unnecessary, wrong and hurt people, even if it was legal. – Cliff Jones La Crescenta Phone-y tax Re “Phone tax could tap Net usage” (Dec. 11): Here we go again with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s phony phone tax. When will it stop? We are being taxed to death. Let’s see how many voters are going to fall for this scam. – Jose Fajardo Sylmar160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champNorthridge Amen to Alan Re “Not the dark ages” (Letters, Dec. 10): A big “Amen” to letter writer Alan Falconer who had the conviction to step forward and state what I have believed for quite some time: If this world paid less attention to its self-serving, bullying organized religions and devoted a little more attention to basic common sense, it would be a much saner place. – Thomas R. Atkins Re “Rate hikes and phone tax are ingredients for trouble” (Dec. 10): If the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is to succeed in becoming a well-run department, a thorough and complete audit must be done. This includes auditing the purchasing department that spends more than $1billion annually. David Nahai should have a clean slate to begin his tenure as the new general manager. With a complete audit, the ratepayers will know if they are asked for a new rate increase that everything possible has been done to prevent it. We must have a complete and thorough audit. – Candido Marez
As the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) winds down its work standardizing the Extensible Markup Language (XML), it is looking back at the history that brought XML to its success today.“W3C XML, the Extensible Markup Language, is one of the world’s most widely-used formats for representing and exchanging information. The final XML stack is more powerful and easier to work with than many people know, especially for people who might not have used XML since its early days,” Liam Quin,XML activity lead who recently announced he would be be leaving W3C after almost 17 years working with XML, wrote in a post.XML 1.0 was first published as a W3C recommendation on Feb. 10, 1998, as a way to tackle large-scale electronic publishing problems. Today, it is a markup language used to define rules for encoding documents that are both human and machine-readable.According to Alexander Falk, president and CEO of the software development company Altova, the evolution and success of XML has been widely misunderstood. “Today, much of what we take for granted – and sometimes don’t even think of as being related to XML anymore – is, in fact, based on XML. Every Word document, Excel spreadsheet, and PowerPoint presentation is stored in OOXML (Open Office XML) format. Every time you e-file your taxes in the U.S. (and any many other jurisdictions), the information is sent from your tax software provider to the government in XML format. Every time a public company provides its quarterly and annual financial reports to the SEC, the data is transmitted in XBRL (an XML format). Every time you talk to your Alexa device, you’re interacting with an app that uses SSML (Speech Synthesis Markup Language, an XML format). And the list goes on and on,” Falk wrote in an email to SD Times.According to W3C’s Quin, XML can work with JSON, linked data, documents, large databases, the Internet of Things, automobiles, aircrafts and even music players. “There are even XML shoes. It’s everywhere,” he said. But, how did we get here? The W3C created the Web Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) Working Group to create an SGML specification to be shared and displayed on the web and within browser plug-ins. While XML is very similar to HTML, the W3C explained the intent was not to replace HTML. XML is designed to carry data; HTML is designed to display data. XML tags are not predefined and HTML tags are, so there are still many differences among the two.At the time the Web SGML Working Group was working on the SGML specification, there were two plug-ins: Panorama from SoftQuad and EBT/Inso, which was never released. The W3C realized the need for a standard because it was clear that it would be too complex to develop a SGML document that would support both plug-ins. “XML has some redundancy in its syntax. We knew from experience with SGML that documents are generally hard to test, unlike program data, and the redundancy helped to catch errors early and could save up to 80 [percent] of support costs (we measured it at SoftQuad). The redundancy, combined with grammar-based checking using schemas of various sorts, helped to improve the reliability of XML systems. And the built-in support for multilingual documents with xml:lang was a first, and an enduring success,” wrote Quin.Today, Quin believes most of the work with XML is finished. “People are using the specifications in production and the rate of errata has slowed to a crawl,” he explained.However, the end of the W3C’s specification does not mean XML is ending, it simply means it has reached a mature stage where it is widely deployed, according to Quin. “People aren’t reporting many new problems because the problems have already been worked out,” Quin wrote.Altova’s Falk believes the future of XML looks bright. “As it gets even more ubiquitous, it will be easier for people to forget that much of the data that flows between different systems is based on XML, but that doesn’t mean it is becoming less important,” wrote Falk. “As the core of XML has matured and been refined over the years, we’ve seen a whole range of supporting standards emerge that help process, structure, transform, query, and format XML data – all coming together to establish a rich infrastructure of related technologies, including XML Schema, XSLT, XSL-FO, XPath, XQuery, XBRL, etc., that enable standards-based information processing that spans operating systems, platforms, and software products.”“But for the most part, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the ability to represent information, process it, interchange it, with robustness and efficiency. There’s lots of opportunities to explore in making good, sensible use of XML technologies,” Quin added.