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Re: Picking the Tools -- Marrying processing models to data models

On Wed, 23 May 2001, W. E. Perry wrote:

> This is usually the other case, where the original form is identified by
> structure. Please bear with me if I stress once again how the structure or
> datatype of that original form does not govern the form in which data is
> instantiated for local processing.

Well, that's a common feature of data representations, that they don't
force you to process it in any way. Streamed formats like XML
force a serial parsing, admittedly, while more advanced ones allow you to
seek around the data as needed, but that's just the input stage; no data
format "forces" the form in which data is instantiated for local

> The original form is simply an
> identification which allows selection of the input side of the transformation
> or other process which instantiates locally useful data.

Yes. Indexing by "structure or name" isn't a significant difference, as
you make out, really; XML and CSV are both structured, it's just a matter
of whether you walk that structure by explicit names (what's called
"foo" in the file) or by implicit numbers (third element in).

> that input? It can be identified either by its label or its form. If the local
> process concludes that it is unlabeled, or that its label is incomprehensible,
> then, yes, it might be identified by its form. Even when it matches no form
> previously known to this process, it may be identifiable by something like the
> brute-force method you describe:

The label, however, is really identified by the namespace declaration more
than the XML elements. You could drop the element/attribute names and use
numbers, and have the schema/DTD/informal spec explain what each number
means, and the XML would be no less expressive (the same information would
be there, albeit now more oriented towards machine processing than human

> view of the local process is congruent--*via the transform or other process
> required to instantiate the local data*--to some equally abstract label by
> which the local process identifies its own required input data form:  'order'
> as you might use the term in Djakarta to 'order' as I use the term in New
> York, for example.

Yep, I agree with you there :-)

> Respectfully,
> Walter Perry


                               Alaric B. Snell
 http://www.alaric-snell.com/  http://RFC.net/  http://www.warhead.org.uk/
   Any sufficiently advanced technology can be emulated in software