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   Re: XML media types revisited

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  • From: John Cowan <cowan@locke.ccil.org>
  • To: XML Dev <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 10:15:46 -0500

David LeBlanc wrote:

> I don't agree with the idea that XML is a replacement for ASCII.

Figuratively, not literally.  The idea is that XML is meant to become
the (near)ubiquitous way of expressing structured text or data, just as
plain ASCII is the (near)ubiquitous way of expressing plain text
or data.  (But not forever: Unicode plain text rulz!)

> [T]here are no technical reasons that I
> know of why XML could not be represtented in EBCDIC or ASCII (aside from
> standard compliance).

Indeed, it is perfectly standards-compliant to have EBCDIC XML documents,
as long as they begin with the characters "<?xml" (expressed in
EBCDIC) and mention a proper code-page in the character set
declaration.  EBCDIC code pages have 3 names each:  "IBMnnn", "cpnnn",
and "ebcdic-cp-xx" where nnn is a CP number and xx is a country code.
Whether any XML parsers interpret these names is a question.

> Neither does "application" imply C, C++, Java or whatever else. In fact, I
> wonder if "application/xml" is appropriate at all - does "application/RTF"
> or "application/TROFF" make sense?

Yes, very much so.  Troff source can and should be specified as
"application/x-troff" and could be registered as "application/troff"
if anyone wanted to bother.  But "text/x-troff" would be reasonable
too, since much troff source can reasonably read as plain text.
RTF source is usually too *busy* to be read as plain text, though.

Anent the "application" top-level type, RFC 2046 saith:

# [...T]ypically either uninterpreted binary data or information to be
# processed by an application.  [... E]xpected uses for "application"
# include spreadsheets, data for mail-based scheduling systems, and
# languages for "active" (computational) messaging, and word
# processing formats that are not directly readable.

John Cowan	http://www.ccil.org/~cowan		cowan@ccil.org
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

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