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Re: [xml-dev] Debating "civil disobedience" against overly complicatedspecs

Simon St.Laurent wrote:

> At 08:14 PM 9/23/2001 -0400, Champion, Mike wrote:
>>I think there's an issue here that goes way beyond ElectricXML and
>>namespaces: Are acts of "civil disobedience" against "needlessly complicated
>>and confusing" specs a Good Thing because they point us in the right
>>direction or a Bad Thing because they cause chaos?
> You can say similar things about SOAP, as it forbids DOCTYPE 
> declarations.  Wait a second, some people already _are_ asking that:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/xml-dist-app/2001Sep/0203.html
> (and Mike's answered as well.)

Noah Mendelsohn made a good point [1] noting that any application of XML 
is defining a subset of XML.

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/xml-dist-app/2001Sep/0206.html

When you think about it, specifying a schema (with a DTD, a W3C XML 
Schema or any other language) is defining the subset that your 
application will allow within all the possible XML documents.

This subset can usually not be completely by a schema since most of the 
schema languages are very weak in describing business rules and the XML 
applications usually also include a textual specification of extra rules 
that need to be checked.

On the other hand, does that mean that any restriction can be specified 
without loosing the right to be called XML?

I can for sure specify that attributes are not allowed (all I have to do 
is to declare no attributes in my schema), but can I specify, for 
instance that all my attributes must be single quoted?

There is a border line somewhere and this border line should probably be 
better defined.

My perception is that it should be allowed to define restrictions on the 
content of a document, not on the syntax of its markup.

Even this definition is blur and cannot fully answer the question asked 
by SOAP: is the doctype markup syntax or document content?

I would say it is markup syntax, but this perception light be 
application dependant...

The case of the doctype is also complicated by the fact that the doctype 
doesn't find it's way into the XPath data model and that all the XPath 
based tools have no way to test the presence of a doctype and by the 
architectural issues it can bring for XML messages (what if a reference 
to a relative URI is made, what if the content of an external entity 
changes over time, ...?).

> Could be some interesting if chaotic times ahead.

Sure! I do find it interesting: could SOAP be an unexpected offspring of SML growing within the entrails of the W3C?

> Simon St.Laurent
> Associate Editor
> O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.

See you in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Eric van der Vlist       http://xmlfr.org            http://dyomedea.com
http://xsltunit.org      http://4xt.org           http://examplotron.org