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Since XML 1.0, we've piled on a lot of pieces on top of basic labeled
structured content.  

XML 1.0 itself had a few annotative parts, notably attribute types and
default values, though these would (usually) get taken care of in the
parser. Beyond that, xml:lang and xml:space acted as tree-annotation
requiring some interpretation by the application, and Namespaces in XML
added yet more of those annotations, and now one of Namespaces 1.1's
more critical features appears to be the ability to turn off some of
those annotations at times.

W3C XML Schema and the PSVI add a lot more information to documents, and
as glad as I am to see proposals like HLink and Paul Prescod's
discussion this morning of "Colloquial XML"[1] and RDF, those seem to be
even more annotation.  CSS, though typically more limited in its
context, also adds lots of information to XML documents.

As bad as Ted Nelson can tell you that embedded markup is, it has a
substantial advantage, especially in its XML form, of explicitness. I
wonder how much longer that advantage can hold given the popularity of
annotation on so many different levels.  Even RDDL, which gives me some
hope as a repository for these annotations, is itself based on one of
the annotation forms, an interesting proposition given the mixability of
that form.

When I started designing MOE, I set up an explicit home for annotations
of any variety (CSS, PSVI, doodles), as well as a variety of homes for
namespace information.  When I first started doing that, I ran into
noticeable performance problems from the start.  At first I put that
down to my naive programming style (and there were definitely some
bugs), but even after shaking it out I'm wondering what the real costs

With more power and better software, some of these problems, at least
the ones that afflict computers more than people, may go away.  I'm not
sure that's a convincing enough answer to move forward, however.

[1] - http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2002Oct/0201.html

Simon St.Laurent - SSL is my TLA
http://simonstl.com may be my URI
http://monasticxml.org may be my ascetic URI
urn:oid: is another possibility altogether


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