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   RE: [xml-dev] validating against the standard W3C

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> This is the clearest spec of XPath I've seen, and much easier to read
> than the verbose XPath spec. Then again, maybe XPath lends itself to
> this kind of specification. (denotational semantics)

It's easy to read once you understand the language it's written in! Which is
the point I was making: formal specification limits the number of people you
can communicate with, which in the end can become counter-productive if it
means that users and implementors and teachers and authors start to turn
elsewhere for their explanations. I've actually worked on projects where the
coders were making things up as they went along because they couldn't
understand the specification.

It's a shame Phil never aligned his semantics fully with the actual XPath
1.0 language, it would have been interesting to see how he coped with the
messier corners of the spec. But there's a lot of work going on to produce
formal semantics for XQuery and I'm trying quite hard to understand it so I
can help to spot the bugs...

Mike Kay


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