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   Re: Why the Infoset?

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  • From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
  • To: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>,XMLDev list <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 17:23:20 -0700

At 07:28 PM 25/07/00 -0400, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
>At 05:46 PM 7/25/00 -0400, Jonathan Borden wrote:
>>XML is a serialization of a logical document structure defined by the XML
>WARNING: 'XML is a serialization' is only one way to look at it.
>XML is a syntax, and the 'logical document structure' is a particular
>interpretation of that syntax is another.

What Simon said.  XML took a lot of static in its early days because it
was "just syntax" - there are certainly a lot of people who want to think
only in terms of object models (groves, DOMs, whatever) and see the syntax
as disposable fluff.  Me, I think syntax is crucial.  Because describing 
data structures in a straightforward, interoperable way is really hard to 
get right and very often fails.  At the end of the day, if you really want 
to interoperate, you have to describe the bits on the wire.  That's what 
XML does.

Think of it another way... a promise like "my implementation of SQL
(or posix, or DOM, or XLib) will interoperate with yours" is really
hard to keep.  A promise like "I'll ship you well-formed XML docs 
containing only the following tags and attributes" is remarkably, 
dramatically, repeatably more plausible in the real world.

Not that SAX and the DOM and so on aren't good things.  But at the
end of the day, de facto and de jure, XML is syntax. -Tim


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