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   Re: Its the semantics dummy :-)

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  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 17:54:09 -0400

At 05:32 PM 7/31/00 -0400, Jonathan Borden wrote:
>Suppose we agree on MIME? If you send me a MIME document, I can process the
>characters using a MIME parser in 'MIME syntax' -- so what? It is always
>possible to send a perfectly well formed XML document that is totally
>useless e.g.
><doc> <byte>67</byte> <byte>121</byte>... </doc>

Uselessness is in the eye of the beholder, and MIME only takes you to the
doucment container, not to its contents.  67 121 might be a very important
code to me.

(Ever hear of those radio stations broadcasting only numbers?)

>The point is that some people might view XML as just a bunch of pointy
>brackets, and so what if the syntax is perfect *who cares*. Suppose your
>English syntax is perfect but you have nothing to say? What do I care about

If you have an important message to get to me, and you use German syntax, I
can promise that you'll be disappointed even if you use English vocabulary.

>The only reason we *need* agreed upon syntax is that we have something to
>say to eachother (i.e. semantics). What interests me about XML is the
>possibility of creating semantically meaningful documents.

That may be what interests you, but I find that outlook unnecessarily
There are plenty of things I can do with XML as far as _figuring out_
semantics that I can't do with binary or otherwise encoded formats, and I'd
much rather you send me material in XML - even if I don't know the
semantics beforehand.

I'll take my syntax before my semantics, thank you.

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
http://www.simonstl.com - XML essays and books


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