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> Today I've been staring at an industry spec whose XML data model is not
> definable by any schema language that I know of. Validation is currently
> done by what I call "little gray boxes": open-source executables that
> validate the XML document in nice, lengthy, idiosyncratic C++.
If the only definition is that C++ code (sounds like that's your
situation) that's worth worrying about, and fixing.
But if those little grey boxes are just an implementation detail,
that's exactly analagous to the way most systems slip into
"natural language" to specify their semantics. There's a point
where the widely used formal tools just don't solve a particular
problem, and "little grey cells" need to kick in ... ;-)