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   Re: [xml-dev] XPath 1.5? (was RE: [xml-dev] typing and markup)

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Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
>Michael Kay wrote:
> >I don't think it's acceptable, if people go to
> >the trouble of defining the data types they are using in their documents,
> >that XPath and XSLT should ignore this information and treat eveything as if
> >it were text (or guess that it might be a number, as XPath 1.0 does).
> It is all text. The idea that there are any numbers whatsoever in an
> XML document is an illusion that is sometimes useful in a particular
> local processing environment. XSLT should allow particular strings to
> be converted to numbers (including NaN) at the specific request of
> the stylesheet. The stylesheet needs to be in control, not the
> schema. If the stylesheet says it's a number, then it's a number,
> whether the schema agrees or not.


This is one of the reasons why I find Tcl so useful for SGML
processing: it has a world view -- "everything is a string" --
that is perfectly compatible with markup.

> >Anyway, we get messages every week on xsl-list from people asking how to
> >manipulate dates. I would love to reduce the complexity of the solution, but
> >I don't think we can deny that the requirement exists.
> >
> There are no dates in XML documents either. There are strings and
> elements which some local processing environments may choose to treat
> as dates. In fact, I'm already doing this today using EXSLT, without
> any schema anywhere in sight. Schemas are no more necessary to add
> date processing functions to XSLT than they are to add numbers. This
> is a huge red herring.

Agreed.  The simplest solution to the problem of people
needing to manipulate dates is to add functions that interpret
strings as dates and manipulate them.  Schemas and static
typing aren't necessary.

--Joe English



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