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Re: atoms, molecules

"Simon St.Laurent" wrote:

> It would also open up the prospect of treating other compounds - like the
> CSS style attribute, some of the path information in SVG, and various other
> places where the principle of one chunk, one string has been violated - as
> a set of atoms which could themselves be validated and/or transformed
> and/or typed.
> This leads to another kinds of post-processing infoset, where the atoms are
> available as an ordered set of child nodes, but it seems like a promising road.

If I understand what Simon wishes to do, it is similar to what I wished
for in a late March post to this list and also in comments I made to W3C
requesting a regular expression syntax that allowed datatypes to be
defined as regular expression atoms.  The start of the thread can be
found at:


The thread continues in the April to June comments at:


My motivation was to specify an attribute as a numeric value with units
of measure attached to it for absolute clarity.  (Ask NASA how important
this might be.  They lost a Mars probe because numbers had no units
associated with it and one group assumed metric while the other group
was specifying English.)

Using a pattern restriction as a template to identify atoms of interest
within an attribute is similar to the ordering of elements in a

Is it redundant?  Maybe.  

Is it "good" markup?  Probably not.  

Is it a useful, alternative way to specify information?  I believe so.  

Since the only guideline for when one should use attributes vs. elements
is "It depends upon the application.", I don't see this further
structuring, parsing, and use of attributes as fundamentally wrong given
that it has clear functionality for certain developers and users of XML.

Steve Rosenberry
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