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   Re: XML-Data: advantages over DTD syntax? (and some wishes)

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  • From: len bullard <cbullard@hiwaay.net>
  • To: "Bruce T. Smith" <smith@Adobe.COM>
  • Date: Thu, 02 Oct 1997 22:56:31 -0500

Bruce T. Smith wrote:
> At 09:12 PM 10/1/97 -0500, len bullard wrote:
> >Paul Prescod wrote:
> >>
> >>> Jarle Stabell wrote:
> >
> >> > I assume most people today won't edit DTDs (either today's version or
> >> > XML-Data or similar versions) in the "raw" text format. They will of
> >> > course use tools, visualizing the hierarchy (XML-Data's
> >> > extends/implements), selecting values from comboboxes etc.
> >>
> >> If this is the case then the syntax is irrelevant for those people and
> >> they are thus not relevant to the discussion of syntax.
> >
> >I also have to add that in all of the years I have done this
> >sort of work, the argument that "they won't edit this by hand"
> >is the first one to fall apart as soon as the spec is released.
> >Editors follow slowly and even when they do, the ability to
> >"hack the ASCII" is a capability you should defend with your
> >last breath.  This was an argument presented for VRML as
> >well (by Gavin Bell, as a matter of fact).  Truth is, we
> >use the editors for construction of complex objects, yes,
> >but we typically debug in ASCII with line numbers.
> I think Len's reaction is a bit extreme. I may debug in ASCII with line
> numbers, but I don't edit with ed or EDLIN. If I wanted to hack lots of
> HTML or SGML or VRML with a text editor, I'd choose emacs or some other
> editor that was aware of syntactic structures.

Beauty of it is, one doesn't have to.  Extreme?  No.  Empirical 
observation.  The claim that "people just won't use text editors" 
has been made in several XML arguments of late.  I think history 
suggests otherwise.
> There's a big difference between saying that syntax doesn't have to be
> convenient to type in a dumb editor and abandoning ASCII altogether. It
> looked to me like Jarle was just making the former claim.

It doesn't have to be convenient.  It usually is a cut and paste job.
It looked to me like "people won't do this" and that claim is 
usually false.  If however, that is precisely what he meant, 
then I agree.


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