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  • From: Matthew Gertner <matthewg@poet.de>
  • To: "xml-dev@ic.ac.uk" <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Tue, 24 Jun 1997 17:38:46 +0200

> [Jonathan Robie]
> >
> >Is there really an advantage to defining it in IDL first? The IDL could 
> >created after the specification is finished in Java, and the Java-based
> >specification is probably easier to create, understand, and test. I 
> >making things language independent, but at this stage, I'm leery of 
> >complexity that doesn't add any new conceptual power.
> Hmmm. IDL == Language independent spec of an API....might this be better
> approached
> as an XML application? I.e. a DTD for the XML API spec. A doc conforming 
> that spec.
> that can be down-translated to Java, C++, Python  and (gasp) IDL!
> APIs are stuctured docs. Let's practice what we are preaching and capture 
> API in XML. Unless there are compelling reasons why this does not make 
> Just thinking out loud and looking forward to a discussion on the issue.
> Sean

If I may be so bold, this sounds like a great idea to me. Producing an API 
in Java is a valid approach and is more than defensible considering the 
current Internet climate. However, there is also an argument to be made for 
a language-independent approach (as evidenced by the discussion in this 
thread). If this approach is to be favored, it seems to me to make far more 
sense to develop a generalized DTD for API specifications and make the 
specification itself in XML. This would have the following advantages:

1) Make a truly language-independent spec which conforms to the XML 
philosophy. (I am not going to talk about the "spirit of XML". :-)
2) Produce a reusable DTD which would have significant value in its own 
3) Provide the perfect basis for generating documentation directly from the 
API specification.
4) Ensure that every "user" has the necessary expertise to understand the 
formulation of the spec. I am not sure how many people really master IDL. 
Presumably anyone using XAPI will be able to read and understand XML.
5) Provide a demonstration to the outside world as to how XML can be used 
to facilitate language/application independence and information reuse.

It couldn't be that hard to write a DSSSL app to produce a concrete 
language implementation from the XML-based spec, right?



Matthew Gertner
Project Manager/Architect, Internet/Document Management
POET Software GmbH

Tel: +49 (40) 609 90254
Fax: +49 (40) 609 90115
E-mail: matthewg@poet.de

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