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   Re: Foreign Names

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  • From: Steve Schafer <pandeng@telepath.com>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 10:07:57 -0500

On Sat, 15 Apr 2000 02:24:25 -0700, <donpark@docuverse.com> wrote:

>Because an e-commerce company catering strictly to Chinese consumers
>may decide later to go global.  If you were the XML consultant hired
>to advise the company, would you tell them they can if they want to?

Whether I did or did not would depend entirely on the context. I still
fail to see why this is anything more than a personal preference, to
be decided on by those authoring the files. Are you proposing some
sort of "standard"?

>My understanding is that most software engineers, no matter where they
>are, can read English well enough to distinguish and infer enough
>meaning from English element types to use them.

So you're proposing that all <!--comments--> be in English as well,
right? Why not go all the way and be completely jingoistic about it?
"Commandment 1: All XML identifiers, comments, and even content shall
consist solely of American English words and phrases."

When you're talking about information that is exposed to users, then
yes, it's important that you carefully decide how to present that
information so that it is as accessible as possible to the target
audience. But markup is hidden away behind the scenes. If, as a
programmer, I decide to name a variable in one of my programs
"Fichier" rather than "Folder," who the hell cares? No one who uses
the program will _ever_ see that name. Yes, I do have to worry about
those who might need to modify the program in the future. But that is
such a tiny constituency that the decision regarding which language to
use should be based on the makeup of that constituency; at best,
you're talking about an internal company standard, not something to be
dictated by the XML community at large or by any standards

Personally, I think the quasi-human-readable aspect of XML files is
highly overrated. XML documents are in reality mini-databases
(sometimes not so "mini"). We should be using appropriate database
tools, not text editors, to view and edit them. There is an advantage
to their text-based format: It makes it easier to go in and repair a
corrupted file. But in that situation, semantic interpretation of tags
and whatnot is largely irrelevant; all you want to do is end up with a
well-formed document with all the pieces in more or less the right

-Steve Schafer

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