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Re: [xml-dev] So maybe ID isn't a problem after all.

On Sun, Nov 11, 2001 at 01:19:21AM -0500, Gavin Thomas Nicol wrote:
> People understood XML pretty well.

Hum, coming from basically 2 years of work educating the Gnome project
developpers to use XML, they are making real use of it, but certainly
not specialist in markup languages.

  If you limit it to:
    - well formedness
    - just ascii
    - strip "formatting blanks"

then this is is true.
As soon as anything a bit more advanced is used, the average programmer
(and I don't try to generalized to people wihout knowledge of 
 language theory at all) have to learn it, it takes time
I don't think xml:base is any more complex than understanding encoding
support, or xml:space. And still most of the "educated ones" are lost
when faced to a non flat DTD using parameter entities.

> Then along came schemas, XSL, xml:base, 
> etc. etc. ad nauseum. For a lot of the common folk it's hard to understand 
> what they need and what they don't:, becasue they have to learn everything in 
> order to decide...

  Even understanding well "just" the XML-1.0 framework takes
a lot of time. I don't think the stylesheet PI gives them headache.
On the other hand properly setting the DOCTYPE and having working
Catalogs (SGML or XML) is still black magic for a number of
users of XML (i.e. not designers). And this is the basic building
blocks needed to have a working framework in practice.
  A number of them are learning XSLT and though there is some
"strangeness" to them, they seem to learn their way by reuse of examples.
  So They have to learn no matter why. Sometimes they can even
understand the rules if it's not too complex. I think that

  If you put xml:id="foo" on an element then blah.xml#foo will point to it

is relatively clear and simple. On the other hand

  If you put <?xxxx ids="a b c"> at the beginning of the document
  but after the doctype and before the root, and a b c are the 
  names of the IDs attributes defined in the DOCTYPE pointed document
  then if you have a="foo" on an element then blah.xml#foo will point to it

is certainly not simple to them !
  I think the first case gives them 80% of their pointing needs. I won't
suggest they use anything like this for existing DTD like DocBook we use
for documentation where DTD processing is basically mandatory, but for
all the simple uses like small data storage (configuration files,
speadsheet format, etc...) it just fits the bill. Most of those simple cases
don't even have a DTD defined for them.

  Just to give a different perspective ...


Daniel Veillard      | Red Hat Network https://rhn.redhat.com/
veillard@redhat.com  | libxml Gnome XML XSLT toolkit  http://xmlsoft.org/
http://veillard.com/ | Rpmfind RPM search engine http://rpmfind.net/