The XML-DEV mailing list has long been a font of juicy markup-related discussion and development. This is a good thing if you’re really into things like XML databases and discussions about the Infoset. Of course, when you’re a young programmer just getting started with XML, month-long threads debating the merits of pull-parser APIs or listing reasons why XML Schema sucks rocks can be a little daunting. So after a few abortive attempts at following the mailing list proper, I gave up and started religiously reading Leigh Dodd’s eclectic weblog instead.

In eclectic, Dodds would regularly summarize the last few day’s worth of postings to XML-DEV in a way that even a tyro like me could understand and keep up with. It is not an exaggeration to say that I learned most of what I know about XML from this site. It also kept me sane during a bad period at work when I was being forced to do things with XML — and to XML — that could only be described as unholy. It was comforting to read this weblog and know that there were others out there doing less ridiculous things with pointy brackets.

Over the last year or so, though, the number of posts on eclectic had dwindled down to nothing. The last entry there is dated February 17, 2003 — only a few days after I quit my job, coincidentally — and had mostly to do with the age-old data vs. documents permathread. So it wasn’t entirely surprising when Dodds announced that eclectic is shutting down. It does make me a little sad, though, since I’ll now have to follow people’s discussions and learn things on my own. Anyway, I just wanted to give a shout out and thank you to Leigh for teaching me so much, so painlessly.