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   RE: [xml-dev] Article: Keeping pace with James Clark

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There is the text and there is the preferred reading. 
The problem with namespaces is that it is written 
like it is a syntax spec but hides a preferred reading; 
that the value is a URI and the URI is dereferenceable 
if the operator is applied, else, it is just a syntax. 
Reserving a colon is syntax; saying that what is to 
the left of the colon is a URI is to spec a control; to spec 
a control, one spec's semantics.   I see it as a 
vitally important thing to a system definition, but 
not the syntax.  

Infoset is a whole other thing, no doubt.  James 
is aiming toward a globally interoperable framework; 
that is what the WWW is about (saying it is an 
information space is just another distraction while 
the knife changes hands), and I don't disagree.  
A global WWW XML framework is a good goal.  I just 
don't think it is XML.  On the other hand, teaching 
XML without teaching the InfoSet on the first day 
is like trying to teach someone to fly an airplane 
without ever telling them what a propellor does.

If people want the freedom they claim they want 
to innovate, then the strictness of these layers 
is all important.  Otherwise, next time MS, or Sun 
or IBM shovels in a lot more obscured semantics, 
it's all just quiddities.


From: Thomas B. Passin [mailto:tpassin@comcast.net]

[Bullard, Claude L (Len)]
> Are these statements consistent?
> "...XML 1.0/XML Namespaces/XML Infoset/XML Base can be integrated without
an unreasonable amount of work and that the integration will result in
something significantly more coherent than what we have now."
> "...the key lesson is that the lowest layers should deal only with syntax
and should be semantically neutral."

Seems to me that XML 1.0 and XML Namespaces can go together as a syntactical
layer just fine.  I do not quite see it for the infoset, since there is no
defined serialization for it.  It is true that  the infoset is supposed to
be a model of those things represented by the syntax of the document, so in
that sense it is still syntactical.  Maybe that is what James Clarke was
thinking of.

The infoset tells you what is to be considered important in the syntax and
what is not, in an abstract sort of way.  It is sort of meta-syntax.  Now if
we had a Rec that started with the infoset and, after laying it out, said
"now here is how we serialize an infoset, and we call it XML", that might be
a good approach.  But it tends to get away from the idea of marking up
documents, doesn't it?  "Now let me see, looking and this document, I see a
'para' element information item right over here"...  I just doesn't grab me
the same way.


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