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   typing and markup (was Re: [xml-dev] XQuery types)

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On Mon, 2002-05-06 at 14:57, Uche Ogbuji wrote:
> Because I assumed we were talking about utility for XML, not general
> purpose programming, I ommitted  the 25 pages it requires to discuss 
> the philosophy behind first-class dynamic typing without ambiguity.

This discussion's gotten me thinking once again about whether XML is
appropriate to the tasks for which it is being sold. There was a long
discussion about types here a few years ago in which someone suggested
that the types provided by DTDs were in fact far too rich, and that
perhaps CDATA/ID/IDREF was already more than enough.  Then we get into
W3C XML Schema types, which I consider far too overgrown, and now XQuery
is in the type mire.

I have to confess that I'm starting to wonder if the mismatch between
"business customer demands" and "markup's natural capabilities" isn't
likely to show more and more over time, and that adding more types to
the framework will add complexity rather than capability.  Every now and
then I peek in at the query-datamodel draft to see if there's good
reason to change my mind, and I can't say I've found anything promising.

Text in general seems much better at ambiguity than at specificity. 
Markup structures help, but I'm not particularly convinced that they
help that much.  Defining canonical lexical representations (and
transformations that avoid inflicting them on humans) seems like a
better route around this than defining types. 

Of course, as Truman Capote supposedly said of Jack Kerouac, "that's not
writing, that's typing."  (Note that I have most of Kerouac's books and
very deliberately zero of Capote.)

It's time to get back to work on Regular Fragmentations, I guess.

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!


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