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   Re: [xml-dev] Xml is _not_ selfdescribing

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At 2:52 PM +0100 1/15/02, Jens Jakob Andersen, PDI wrote:
>Hello all
>I think that it is fair to conclude now, that XML is _not_ any more 
>selfdescribing than e.g. CSV files.

That's ridiculous. XML absolutely is more self-describing than CSV. 
Nothing here has proven otherwise.  Your claim is indicative of the 
flawed binary logic that pervades much of the Internet. XML is not 
perfectly self-describing. Therefore it is not self-describing. But 
that's only a syllogism in binary logic. The real world isn't binary. 
It's fuzzy. There are degrees of things, including degrees of 

No serious analysis of how XML is actually used vs. how CSV files are 
actually used could possibly deny that XML is more self describing. 
The possibility that XML tag names could be chosen randomly does not 
evade the fact that they are not chosen randomly in the vast majority 
of cases. The evidence that some (though far from all) XML 
applications use extremely opaque tag names does not imply that there 
is no meaning there, or that this meaning cannot be teased out of an 
XML document by a sufficiently determined researcher. The need for 
genuine intelligence to comprehend and make use of this meaning does 
not make it useless.

In reverse, the possibility of using column names in CSV files does 
not help in any way with the large proportion of CSV files that don't 
use column names. That the rows of a CSV file can match the column 
names doesn't help at all when they don't. In the real world, XML is 
simply easier to work with than CSV.

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