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   working with text (was RE: [xml-dev] XPath 1.5?)

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On Tue, 2002-05-07 at 09:26, Matthew Gertner wrote:
> Admittedly I am just restating the problem, but I am curious to know why you
> are so convinced that the data in XML documents are strings that can be
> translated into other data types when necessary, and not dates, number, etc.
> that are serialized as strings when an XML document is instantiated.

I think the problem is that XML itself is _only_ lexical representation,
defining an approach to marking up textual representations of
information with tags to create structure.  There are no dates, except
as you label them such.

> The
> counterargument, which strikes me as extremely compelling, is that
> practically every environment *other* than an XML document would benefit
> from explicit use of the underlying datatypes.

True, but perhaps every other environment would benefit from a toolkit
other than XML that had such datatypes more than XML itself will benefit
from the imposition of such types.

> This includes storage
> engines, user interfaces (where formatting, localization and type/range
> checking must occur), most popular programming languages, etc. I can
> certainly say from my experience programming in Java and C++ that I would
> prefer for a number to be a number and for a date to be a date, rather than
> having to constantly convert back and forth.

Provided that you use a consistent lexical and markup convention for
your information, you can do that, with no need to impose a single
lexical convention or a bloated type infrastructure on every user of

My experience programming in Java and my experience working with XML
have led me to believe that each appropriate type (and lack of type)
conventions for the style of information representation they provide. 

Programmers seemed to insist on the distinction between markup and
programming languages in the 90s when HTML seemed an annoyance to them,
but are a lot more eager to blur that line at present.
Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!


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