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   Pontifications on the Perversity of Pedantry, Punditry, and Purple Pros

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  • From: "Michael Champion" <Mike.Champion@softwareag-usa.com>
  • To: ",XML-DEV \(E-mail\)" <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 11:05:34 -0400

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rick JELLIFFE" <ricko@geotempo.com>
To: ",XML-DEV (E-mail)" <xml-dev@xml.org>
Sent: Saturday, April 22, 2000 11:43 PM
Subject: Re: Foreign Names

> > >Tim Bray wrote:
> > >> <pedantic>they're not "tag names" dammit,
> > >> they're "element types"</pedantic>.  -T.
> > >If we are going to be pedantic, isn't it "element type names"?
> >
> > Oh boy!  A pedentry contest!


> The most we can say with XML schemas is that the GI ultimately nominates
> an element type, rather than being the name of one or naming it.  Can I
> claim the pedantry crown, so highly prized?

While Tim, Paul, and Rick fight it out for the crown of Principal Pundit of
Pedantry, I feel compelled be a bore and point out that the legions of
developers working with XML these days generally aren't amused by this

Maybe it doesn't matter ... they don't read the specs anyway, they read a
couple of the shelf-full of books on XML at Borders and get on with life ...
or they read the help pages on MSN to get XML According to Bill and get on
with life.   In either case, it would seem that we're breeding a sort of
mutant form of XML developers who DON'T CARE ABOUT THE STANDARD!
(Geez ... why would ANY sensible person just doing their day job care about
a standard in which what everybody calls a "tag" in their code is Really and
Truly an "element type name" but in an even higher plane of reality has the
Abstract Metaphysical Buddha Nature of nameness and typeness ... as we learn
from Tim Bray's annotation?)

People just trying to get their job done won't stand for confusion; if the
standards don't provide the necessary clarity, the alternative is not chaos,
it's the "de-facto standard" from somebody or other who happened to be in
the right place at the right time. Let's get used to it or let's get our act
together, but doing nothing and hoping for the best is not a realistic
option.  In other words, don't whine about IE5 not conforming to the
standard; it will BE the "standard" that people care about if the W3C
standards continue to require annotation by gurus, deconstruction by
pundits, and exegesis by experts in order to be useful.

Is there any chance that future versions of the XML Recommendation and/or
the InfoSet will deprecate the weird terminology in favor of the
conventional language of mathematics/software engineering? ... e.g., call a
tag a "tag" and an "XML element information item" a "node" like God
intended?  ;~) Will anyone lobby/vote against future Proposed
Recommendations until they are written in a language comprehensible to
ordinary mortals who have not labored in the mines of SGML/XML for years?

Does anyone else care about this besides Nils Klarlund and the usual
suspects on SML-DEV??  If so, what is to be done?

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