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RE: Enlightenment via avoiding the T-word

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Simon St.Laurent [mailto:simonstl@simonstl.com]
> Sent: Sunday, August 26, 2001 10:28 AM
> To: Tim Bray
> Cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: Re: Enlightenment via avoiding the T-word
> I've long described XML as a convenient tool for sharing labeled
> structured information, but it seems to get clearer every 
> week that the nature of those labels and structures isn't nearly agreed 
> upon, however clearly specified the syntax for doing so may be. 

> ... perhaps I deluded myself
> briefly into thinking that we had something simple enough to 
> share here.

Hmm, I'm not sure I understand your point.  Tim's saying (as I understand
it), we CAN all agree that elements/attributes/namespaces describe "labels"
for markup information.  That seems to be simple enough to share, and is a
solid foundation to build on, even if various groups go  off in their own
direction with higher-lvel interpretations of these labels and structures.
That is, I might build tools that understand XML syntax only as labels and
structures (DOM Level 1 and 2, XPath, tools for validation modelled as
structural constraints). Lots of people can build perfectly reasonable and
funcitonal applications directly on this foundation. Somes believer in the
utility of Schema types (oops, sorry Tim, wash my mouth out with SOAP) or
the PSVI or the Query data model or the RDF/AF/whatever conception of what
these labels *mean* can still layer their own conceptions on my more
minimalistic conceptions.  Or they can build directly on the T-word
conception with databinding or the PSVI ... that's their business, as long
as they don't try to deprecate the "it's just a label, stupid" view of XML.

The problem -- as you noted in your XML.com article a couple of months ago
-- is that the folks who want to drive "the T word" all the way down to the
foundations of XML (or at least the PSVI) seem to be running the asylum
these days, and this makes the rest of us inmates even crazier than we were
to begin with.  This leads to the situation that you Simon and I bitch about
continuously ... but Tim's offering a way out by clarifiying the distinction
between labels, namespaced labels, and whatever theoretical superstructure
people want to erect on top of those labels.

Simon recently proposed a fundamental differentiation between the "raw
syntax" and "PSVI" conception of XML, and a proposal that the two groups go
their own way (my memory is fuzzy .. forgive me if I've distorted the
post!).  Tim is proposing, as I interpret it, a more highly refined and
perhaps less divisive differentiation -- at the root, XML structures (be
they syntax structures or parsed data models) are identified by "labels" and
"ulabels".  The "PSVI" conception presumably accepts this as a foundation,
but then builds a superstructure on top of it.

Can we live with that?