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   Loose Typing Rant (was RE: [xml-dev] XQuery and DTD/Schema?)

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7/6/2002 6:24:27 PM, "Thomas B. Passin" <tpassin@comcast.net> wrote:

 it's not necessarily so easy to arrange standard datatyping anyway - see
>By Mike Gorman -


That's a very illuminating  article!

My favorite bit: "Gee, all we have to do is to agree with our vendors 
on a format and we can send data back and forth!" 
If you could have agreed on the format, you could have sent data back 
and forth years ago. XML is not the issue here."

It's like my reaction to the GAO report advocating that the gummint 
delay XML adoption until it can "strongly type" all documents and
messages. XML technology "is not the issue here" when dealing with
the challenges they would face trying to do such a thing.  

The best they can do is more or less what human clerks do today:  
figure out who means what by the labels attached to the 
form/data, and build a business process that transcribes 
the values attached to those labels into 
a form/format that the organization knows how to deal with.  This doesn't
take Big Brother to define the One True Format for everything, or
artificial intelligence, it just takes a) pattern recognition b)
transformation, and c) a way to "throw exceptions" for someone to
sort out when things are too complicated for the Standard Operating
Procedure to handle.  

This is the way bureaucracies have worked for centuries, and it can
be emulated with some combination of XPath, XSLT, XQuery's lowest
conformance level,  SAX/DOM, or probably a bunch of the other 
simple XML technologies that Eric's recent post enumerated.  It does
require a fair amount of work, but XML handles the boring/trivial
80% of it, letting the developers focus on the "who means what by
which label" part.


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