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Re: [xml-dev] Caught napping!

W. E. Perry wrote:

> There is no indication,
> other than your expectation, that my process is intended to, or capable of,
> interpreting diagnosis vs. cure, and certainly no indication that, if it does, it will
> do so in the way you expect or based on data in the form that you supply.

No, no.  I was functioning as your supervisor/employer, and telling you
to write a process that would achieve that goal.  But let that go.

> You
> effectively expect to issue a procedure call to my process.

By no means.

> But suppose
> that my process is intended to count the number of patient records exhibiting what,
> through its own devices, it recognizes as a personal name, such as your <q8uwf9em>John
> Cowan</q8uwf9em>?

Okay, fine.  *What* own devices?  How can your process know that
John Cowan is a personal name and not the name of a 3rd party
insurance company?  Even if it can look up such strings in a
database, suppose John Cowan is the name of *both* a patient
*and* an insurance company?  Then what?  Furthermore, all
unknown to you, the appearance of "John Cowan" here represents
the creator of the document format.  Then what?

> Or to correlate the instances of appearances of your
> <e2jv8b0wpkemvikwhasdf> element against instances of matching numerical content in a
> check-clearance database which, again, you know nothing of?

Do you mean exactly what you say here: the mere *appearance* of the
element?  What use can that have when you do not know anything about
it?  In fact, the <e2jv8b0wpkemvikwhasf> element is a version
number.  What significance can your correlation have?  (The correlation
between my age and the radius of the universe is 1.0, but so what?)

> All of these are useful
> work which my process might perform on some portion of your data, though in disregard
> of your expectation.

I have no expectations.  I do, however, *mean* something by the
documents I emit.  I fail to see how you can do useful processing,
other than mere counting or the like, on uninterpreted data.

> The point is that while my process is dependent on some aspects
> or properties of the data you supply,

Yes.  And how is your process to learn those aspects or properties
in the absence of semantic agreements?  Either it must have
hard-coded knowledge (which just pushes off the question of
agreement from the processes to the programmers), or it is
guessing and can't possibly be reliable.

I also continue to fail to see what makes XML different from
CSV in this respect.  You can count CSV rows or columns, or search for
"foo" in a CSV file, without knowing the semantics of the columns, but
you can't do much else.

And if that's the level of processing you want, you need not even
know whether or not the input is XML, or for that matter, text.
Uninterpreted bits do just as well.

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