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   Re: Why the Infoset?

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  • From: "W. E. Perry" <wperry@fiduciary.com>
  • To: XML DEV <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 06:13:08 -0400

John Cowan wrote:

> If you want to interpret the following XML documents differently (one per line):
>         <foo bar="baz">
>         <foo bar='baz'>
>         <foo bar='b&#97;z'>
>         <foo bar='b&#x61;z'>
>         <foo bar="b&#x61;z">
> by all means don't let *me* stop you.

Before John Cowan's response, I would have replied to Jonathan Borden's assertion

> Except for imposing XML namespace conformance, the Infoset places few constraints on an XML document. Indeed
> it does not force you to even use XML names, the only constraint is a syntactic one, of explicitly not allowing ':' within element names except as
> specified in XML names.
that the advocates of the Infoset do not claim so little for their creature. During
the xml-uri debate John Cowan--eloquently, I thought--argued consistently and
tenaciously over a very long time that, as editor of the Infoset, he could not
finesse the hard questions of interpretation precisely because the Infoset demanded
specific semantic resolution of processing issues (see particularly his replies to
Simon St.Laurent at http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/xml-uri/2000Jun/0094.html,
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/xml-uri/2000Jun/0128.html and

Among what I took to be the specific semantics elaborated by the new Infoset draft,
I am particularly troubled by the abstract nature imputed to the concepts
parent/child and document order. Syntactically understood, these may be simple
physical accidents of the serial nature of documents. Their semantic significance on
the occasion of any particular processing, however, may be either less (i.e., for
the purposes of the moment, element containment and/or ordinality don't really
matter) or very much more (because additional semantics are elaborated from, or
demanded by, the processing of links, transforms, etc.) than the property values
assigned under the Infoset. Why then insist in the Infoset on particular standard
semantics which are likely to be beside the point for the specific, salient
semantics of the processing instance?

Perhaps I am over-rationalizing and would be better served to resist less, as I have
been advised. I shall therefore withhold further public questioning of the Infoset
initiative and hereby apologize to any who feel that I have abused the bandwidth of
this list with a rant.


Walter Perry


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