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   Re: Comments, parsers, XPointers

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  • From: "John E. Simpson" <simpson@polaris.net>
  • To: "XML Developers' List" <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Wed, 20 May 1998 15:22:14 -0400

At 01:34 PM 1/1/80 -0500, you wrote:
> [various helpful stuff]
>(comments have no purpose on the production/browsing side).
I was wondering about that. Specifically, I was wondering about a "view
source"-type feature in XML browsers, perhaps with a show/hide comments
toggle.  I've no experience with SGML, but I (and a lot of -- most? --
other HTMLites) have frequently made use of other developers' comments for
learning purposes, outside the context of formal training. Assume there
were some convention for associating a comment with a particular element or
other component of the logical (even physical) model (probably a big
assumption!); some facility for locating element X's comment, if any, would
be extremely helpful for such purposes. A
docname.xml#child(1,elementname).(1,#comment) sort of XPointer seems like a
natural construct in this case.

Of course excessive comments add to network load, invite abuse and so on (I
still get the willies when I see scripting embedded in HTML comments); but
they aren't always noise, and aren't always useful only to their author.

>In the longer term, what we need is an official definition of an XML
>information set, specifying (for example) that reporting comments is
>optional, while reporting the start and end of elements is required.
>Once such a beastie exists, many vexing questions about (and
>inconsistencies among) the DOM, XPointers, SAX, XSL, etc. will
Yes to all!

Thanks, David.


John E. Simpson			| It's no disgrace t'be poor,
simpson@polaris.net		| but it might as well be.
					| 		-- "Kin" Hubbard

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