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   Re: Architectural Forms and XAF

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  • From: "Wang,David" <dwang@mitre.org>
  • To: "Steven R. Newcomb" <srn@techno.com>, <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 15:16:29 -0500

>  ... AFs will be the rule, rather than the exception.  AFs are, quite
> simply, the object-oriented way of supporting reliable, vendor-neutral
> information interchange.
> AFs are all about hijacking arbitrary models of interchangeable
> information, using such models in an unbounded number of contexts,
> specializing them in validatable ways, mixing them together in
> arbitrary ways, and supporting them via re-usable engines.

I do not understand - I do *not* see AFs as "object oriented" in the least.
It seems like a great "hack" enabled by hijacking DTDs.  The more I read
about it, the more convinced I became that AFs are indeed hacks.  All the
renaming attributes for the architecture name, attribute names, and
attribute values, along with a recommendation to turn auto-associate off by
default, point to a lack of a proper hierarchical namespace to avoid the
consistent need to rename things because everything eventually collides in a
flat namespace.  That said, I read a lot of responses which basically shot
down namespaces as unnecessarily complex.  Why?  I think the renaming one
has to do with AF is unnecessarily complex.  Agreed, namespaces alone don't
solve the problem - namespaces try to behave like mathematical partitions,
but as math profs claim "mathematics is not real-life!"

> I often urge people who are interested in learning more about AFs to
> read chapters 9-11 of David Megginson's excellent book:

I have, in fact, read David's excellent discussion on AFs in this book.
However, I fail to feel as optimistic about AFs as you; I'm wondering if
there's a key point that I'm missing.

> > The only reason why the AF framework wasn't used to do the job of
> > namespaces (and yes, we thought about it a lot) is that the syntax
> > for AF-ing attributes is ugly and complicated.

I agree (above).  I think AF's notions deserve a simpler syntax instead of
the convoluted way in which it twists around existing schema formalisms.


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