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Datatypes vs anarchy (was Re: Personal reply to Edd Dumbill's XML HackArticle wrt W3C XML Schema)

> -----Original Message-----

> From: David E. Cleary [mailto:davec@progress.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2001 8:42 AM
> Subject: Re: Personal reply to Edd Dumbill's XML Hack Article wrt W3C XML

> >There's no guarantee that the string 45.67 in fact represents a real

> And this is supossedly a good thing? That a producer of the data and the
> of the data can disagree about what the data means? I'll take data typing
> day over anarchy.

Quite understandable ... but remember that this kind of thing is PERVASIVE
in the "real world" today.  If you think of Schemas (broadly defined) as a
contract between the producer and consumer of data, think of the nightmares
we would be living through if every "paper" transaction had to be defined by
a legal contract that specified details down to the level of interpretation
of each number in every field in a form.  Sure, there ARE cases when this is
important, and an army of lawyers out there who will happily charge you
$400/hour to get these details right ... but should that be the norm?  Most
of the time we muddle through and decide whether 45.67 is a rounded off
floating point number, a decimal number, or a major.minor version number by
context, heuristics, etc.  That's a problem for automated tools and the
semantic web, but not too severe a problem for human programmers and

Likewise with XML Schemas.  In my mind, they are the $400/hr lawyers of the
XML world ... when you need them, you need them badly, but most people hope
to get through their daily lives without having to deal with these @#$%s!

So the issue here is not whether there SHOULD be XML data typing
facilities -- we clearly need more than XML 1.0 offers for a lot of cases.
The issue is whether all those who can get by with informal agreements,
human-written code, etc. MUST have to deal with schemas and datatypes?  The
critics of the W3C are simply arguing that types should be LAYERED ON rather