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   Re: [xml-dev] The general XML processing problem

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Mike Champion wrote:
> So, I think I'm with Joe: Documents shouldn't specify how they are to
> be used, they should be embedded in a process that specifies how
> specific documents are to be used.  Even the aircraft maintenance
> manual should be driven by a process that specifies when bits of text
> are to be validated against what rules; an individual document may be
> re-used, the schemas evolved, etc. 

What's interesting to me about this discussion is the separation of the
information in the XML document from the processing it will receive.
Although the creators and senders of that document may have their own
expectations about how that document will be processed, there is nothing
intrinsic to the XML which binds it to particular processing.

This lack of binding, while unimportant to people who just want to
connect process A to process B, is in my mind the largest advantage that
XML has to offer over other approaches to representing and exchanging
information.  It offers flexibility, reuse, and support for a wide range
of information forms and applicaions.

I'd like to see XML development pursue approaches that support a
separation of processing expectations from the information carried in
the document.  Instead, some organizations seem to be piling as much
baggage as possible into the understanding of the document and using
that as a foundation for building processors.

Embedding markup in documents is already adding a lot of information
that might from some perspectives better considered separate from the
document.  Piling metadata on that embedded markup seems to give us the
worst of both worlds: embedded markup and separate metadata.  We're in
serious danger of losing our balance as we pile ever more expectations
into documents.
Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!


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