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   Re: Why the Infoset?

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  • From: Jonathan Borden <jborden@mediaone.net>
  • To: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>, xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 17:41:41 -0400

Simon St.Laurent wrote:
> I've been somewhat amazed to see how people all tend to have different
> views of the amount of information that needs to be presented 'as the XML
> document' to an application.  ...

> I'd have found the Infoset far more useful
> if it had started by representing the items actually available in XML
> syntax and then defined the processes by which they get reduced to a
> smaller set of items.
> (Yes, I'm aware the Infoset has 'value' to those who find it meets their
> needs - I'm also aware that it imposes a cost on those whose needs are not
> me, simply by being the 'Recommendation' and blocking other approaches.)
> Sadly, the Infoset seems stuck on one idea, and derailing moving
> philosophical trains at the W3C appears to be damn near impossible.

This is because of all the flak that SGML property sets and groves have
taken, so the Infoset is a renamed baby not yet tainted. If you want to be
able to define your own 'pruning' of a complete XML document you want
property sets and grove plans (and I'll bet *you* never thought you'd need
these :-)

From http://www.prescod.net/groves/shorttut/

"The XML Information Set project is similar to the DOM except that it works
in terms of abstractions instead of APIs. That is an important first step.
But the Information Set is designed only for a single view of XML with
certain optional features. It does not seem at this time that it will be
possible for "end-users" (programmers and query-writers) to tweak the views.
It also does not seem that the model is designed to be extensible to
completely new views. In other words it provides the very bottom layer but
does not define the infrastructure to build the upper ones.

The important thing about property sets is that they embed and embody the
requirements necessary for a data model to be useful in a hypermedia
context. That means that every node in the grove is addressable. It is easy
to construct an address for any given node (for instance the character under
a mouse click) or node list (e.g. a selected list of characters)."

Jonathan Borden


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