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   RE: Feeler for SML (Simple Markup Language)

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  • From: "Gavin Thomas Nicol" <gtn@ebt.com>
  • To: <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 16:35:18 -0500

>>I would argue they do get actively in the way.
>>Sure, the EDI stuff probably does not need external parsed entities
>>and who knows what else. But if EDI software is going to
>>truthfully "use XML" and "be fully XML compliant" then it
>>cannot just barf when these things appear in XML docs.
> Hmm.... just specify the use of a nonvalidating processor.
> These have the right to ignore external entities, not to barf, just to
> ignore them.  If the system is specified in this way, nobody will send
> external entities.

I think the last point is extremely important. While you can complain
about XML features that "complicate" XML processing, at the end of the
day, XML isn't the thing that defines interoperability at the
application level.

For example, in EDI, you have to define vocabularies/scheme to be used.
If something sends you something outside defined schema, you're hosed.
In any interoperable system, there are a number of explicit or implicit
contracts tying all involved parties together. If anyone violates the
contracts, something fails.

So, for XML, the point is that if *in your application domain* you don't
like/want to use a feature, then you don't have to. You can even build
applications tailored for your specific usage of XML, and given that you
always feed it content in the agreed upon format, you would be unable to
tell if it was a full XML system, or a subset, because by definition,
full XML is able to handle the subset. In such cases, feeding it something
outside the application domain violates a validity contract made between
applications, and so it is fine for failure to occur... about the worste
that can happen is that the error message might not be meaningful.

Still, at the end of the day, I can't see that having an
subset parser buys a whole lot. So I'd say to embed a full parser, but
limit, through external contract, what will be fed to it.

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