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Architecture (was Re: Alternatives to XML Schemas)

[aside on architecture]

At 03:23 AM 3/7/2001 +0800, Rick Jelliffe wrote:
>Reading Alexander's pattern book "A Pattern Language" yesterday (on the
>plane with a guy who had worked with Alexander to build a school in Japan),
>he mentions that it seems that shops of the same type are better off being
>far from each other so that they have their own unique catchments but that
>shops of different types are better off being together because they benefit
>from people attracted to other shops. The same might be true of schema
>languages: datatypes and Schematron can happily work with other languages
>because it is neutral, but I expect that a viable, simple 3rd-generation DTD
>would have to either be a subset of XML Schemas and/or be clearly targeted
>to have a different catchment (user-base or problem-base.)

As long as we're talking about architecture, I've been reading _Learning 
from Las Vegas_ (Venturi, Scott Brown, Izenour; MIT Press, 1977), and 
taking notes.  Here are a few choice bits which might apply to XML development:

"Modern architects contradict themselves when they support functionalism 
and the megastructure.  They do not recognize the image of the process city 
when they see it on the Strip, because it is both too familiar and too 
different from what they have been trained to accept." (119)

"Although architects have not wished to recognize it, most architectural 
problems are of the expedient type... In general, the world cannot wait for 
the architect to build his or her utopia, and in the main the architect's 
concern should belong not with what ought to be, but what is - and with how 
to help improve it now." (129)

"Henri Bergson called disorder an order we cannot see.  The emerging order 
of the Strip is a complex order.  It is not the easy, rigid order of the 
urban renewal project or the fashionable 'total design' of the 
megastructure.  It is, on the contrary, and manifestation of an opposite 
direction in architectural theory." (52)

You can guess that I'm not fond of megastructures, whatever their 

We now return to our regular angle bracket programming.

Simon St.Laurent
Associate Editor
O'Reilly and Associates