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Re: [xml-dev] Caught napping!

W. E. Perry wrote:

> John Cowan argues that if he sends me English and I do not understand English,
> then no explanation that he could give me of that instance will enable me to
> grasp his meaning,

That is, no explanation *in English*.  If we both speak Greek, I can
explain it in Greek, using the fact that English and Greek are both
natural languages and translation is possible.  Of course, the Greek
explanation will be far more verbose, but that doesn't affect the
theoretical point.

> Yet because he cannot know--nor dictate--the use
> which I might make of his XML instance, he may not presume that an
> understanding of English, or of his intent, is a condition of the use I make of
> that instance.

You are ignoring my concrete example.  How would you *in general*
program an interpreter of diagnosis vs. cure based on the medical
record with obfuscated field names that I posted?

> This is not a flippant nor a trivial point.

I have as yet seen no evidence for this, alas, except your bare

> The inherent
> advantage of XML as marked-up text is apparent at both ends--at both the
> creation and the use of that instance. Unlike CSV as the serialization of a
> relation, the XML textual instance neither requires a particular data model at
> its creation, nor can it be forced in the markup of the instance itself to
> convey one and only one possible model.

What does XML with obfuscated names convey that CSV does not, other
than nesting?  It seems to me that you can do just as much with:


as with


> This abstraction of the XML text from the
> particular physical instantiation of data at either end of a transmission is
> generally recognized as the reason an XML 'serialization syntax' is significant
> progress in interprocess communication generally.

No more so than any other serialization syntax.  XML has the advantage
of having standard parsers, but so does ASN.1.

Not to perambulate             || John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
    the corridors               || http://www.reutershealth.com
during the hours of repose     || http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
    in the boots of ascension.  \\ Sign in Austrian ski-resort hotel