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RE: An open plea to the W3C (was Re: XInclude vs SAX vs

Tom Bradford sez:

"Everything is *about* something else, including markup and namespaces."

True.  Every system is meaningful in a context of use.  Often a context 
of use is another system.  Markup is pretty dreary unless a bigger system
hosts it.

"If something wasn't about something else, it would have no reason to

On the other hand, are nails about wood?  No nails are about attaching wood
wood and so are screws but they have to be the right screws and nails.
Given the roof, 
the wrong nails spot the white paint brown.  

"Markup and namespaces are *about* labeling things, but so are
many other formats, so XML has to be *about* something more than that in
order to justify its existence."

No.  Anymore than nails have to justify their existence by knowing 
they are used in wood.   The carpenter has to know that.  Nails just 
have to attach.

Why XML?  XML is just the nail that won. Smarter ASCII (unicode).  CSV is
there as are dozens of other labeling systems.   It wasn't so 
important to choose SGML for the web.  It was important to choose 

The contexts of use are the problem.  XML is used to attach a lot 
of different kinds of wood in a lot of different locales.  Given a 
sufficiently large context, labels becomes entropic.   We slow that 
down by limiting the contexts.  What happens in an element that 
has no namespace and only lexically, a parent, is that it has 
no referenceable context.  It is a semantic orphan, a nail in 
search of something to attach to.

What one side here wants is that a nail coming out of a given 
process (validation against a schema) also possess the coating 
that lets it be used to hammer exposed wood (a post validation 
information set is not the original nail).  The other side just 
wants it to be the same nail without the coating.  Neither 
side is wrong;  they need nails from different boxes.

>If it wasn't about anything do you think you would have put so much time
>into it?

He didn't need a reason to have a son.  He probably doesn't need 
one to work with anything he loves.  He likes *the system*.


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Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h