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   Re: Parser Behaviour (serious)

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  • From: THOMAS PASSIN <tpassin@idsonline.com>
  • To: <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 08:55:25 -0400

Peter Murray-Rust writes:

> At 09:16 AM 4/3/00 -0700, Tim Bray wrote:
> >At 08:48 AM 4/3/00 +0100, Peter Murray-Rust wrote:
> >>So my summary is:
> >> - The experts (on this list) cannot agree precisely what a parser
> >>should
> >>and should'nt do with various combinations. these include:
> >
> >It is not clear that rules could ever be written.
> If this is true it spells the death of interoperability for information
> components such as MathML, SVG and CML (chemical markup language).

> It matters very much. I and Henry are persuading may people to use CML as

I completely agree with Peter M-R on this.  If you need an important feature
such as entity resolution, your document should be able to say so.  This is
NOT the same issue as being able to turn a feature on and off, something
which has not been settled in this list either.

> *part* of their content. Examples are publishers, patents, safety, health,
> materials, pharmaceutical, etc. etc. It is *absolutely essential* that
> everyone interprets the chemistry in the same way. Otherwise people could


> Friends, this is too serious to ignore. We decided after a years' debate
> that we had to have an API for parsers (SAX). I think we know deep down we
> have to something here. It may be a document, it may be a piece of
> software. The response to SAX was so exciting and encouraging - everyone
> took it on board. I am absolutely sure that all parser writers want their
> parsers to be interoperable. The following expresses my desire:
> <!DOCTYPE molecule SYSTEM "http://www.xml-cml.org/DTD/v10">
> <?xdev externalEntityExpansion="mandatory" DTDResolution="optional"?>
> <molecule name="raniditine bismuth citrate">
>   &ranitidine;
>   &bismuth;
>   &citrate;
> </molecule>
> <!-- I am not advertising - I happen to have worked on ranitidine -->
> P.

Peter's suggested approach here is elegant and simple.  As for Tim B's
statement about there being too many opinions about too many combinations,
well, David Megginson has written that SAX only handles 80% of the xml-ish
things you might like to do.  Let's strive towards agreement on 80% of the
key possibilities here, and we will accomplish something really worth-while.

Of course, even if we get a system such as Peter has asked for, older
parsers will ignore any such directives.  So Peter's pharmaceutical warnings
could still get ignored by any given processor.  But still, at least you
could tell users that they could use a range of processors instead of just
one.  That would be good.


Tom Passin

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