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From: "Jens Jakob Andersen, PDI" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> >2. XML in itself is no more advanced than CSV.
>> I still disagree on that; hierarchical self-describing markup
>> IS a definite advance over CSV.
>This is one of the hypes about XML, that I'd like to defuse. XML is not any more self-describing than >CSV files. E.g.
>What is this?
The first element name is not well-formed XML (unless Blubbery ends
up allowing initial digits).
The second element name shows that documents are difficult
to understand if they don't have human-readable names: if the name is
not clear the document is just as unclear as CSV. This seems the
opposite of the point you are making.
In programming languages, no-one would seriously suggest that
because you can make up misleading names for variables,
we should never use symbolic names at all. And even
<gnygngyasdada> might make sense for a private DTD if
it is a contracted name made from particles in a controlled
vocabulary, for example.
"Self-describing" (a term I don't much care for) seems to mean that
data is nested in a label (element or attribute), and that the gist
of the label will be generally comprehensible by a professional
reading it (in an appropriate language). XML 1.0 enforces the first constraint
and helps the second (by banning characters that could not
be used in a readable name, such as dingbats) as far as possible.
(Also there may be some idea that self-labelling involves associating the
name with some kind of schema rules.)
But I do agree that the term "self-describing" does seem open
for misinterpretation by anyone who has not looked at XML for more
than a minute: it may suggest that XML forces one to use names
from some global controlled vocabulary, or that it does more than
a simple sanity check on the names.