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   RE: XML Schemas: Best Practices

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  • From: "Hodder, Ed" <Ed.Hodder@Bowne.com>
  • To: "XML-Dev (E-mail)" <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2000 12:22:13 -0500

I don't think there is an option but to 'allow' semantic-morph. Because XML
uses natural language  to structure content and, more importantly,
communicate that content it will follow natural language laws. Dialects will
naturally evolve, tags may change meaning based on syntatic position or
context since of course the same word can describe different things. If
'title' were universally tied to the 'name of something' then how can it
also describe a document establishing ownership? Or an honorific? Or a
sports championship?

So to my mind there is no absolute semantics, or more precisely meaning, to
jdkdsfjkds that is application specific. Meaning is always derived from
context. Could a hyper-context be defined so that jdkdsfjkds always means
the same thing regardless of the application? Yes, but then XML is no longer
a plain language description of content and it will lose power. Instead of
creating a universal meaning you'd be better off moving to a universal
description like noun_transportation_four-wheeled_generalized_en to
deliniate 'car' or you'd be forced to looked up which meaning you want
before you wrote the tag <car idDefinition="4" dictionary="Miriam Webster
Unabridged 8.5">. But I don't see that. 

> What do you think?  When you create a schema component should that
> component be expected to have the same semantics regardless of the
> application that uses it, i.e., universal semantics?  Or, should the
> component be able to "semantic-morph" to each application, i.e.,
> localized semantics?
> /Roger


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