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   Re: What are Schemas For?

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On Saturday, October 26, 2002, at 08:24  PM, Paul Prescod wrote:

> tblanchard@mac.com wrote:
> It is not true that almost nobody can understand schemas/dtds. Sure, 
> there are some complex corners of XSD but you can easily learn the 
> _basics_ in a day, and thousands or tens of thousands of people have.

Clearly you have access to a much more talented pool of developers than 
I do.

>> ... I'd quit bringing up the schema thing.  I don't see it used much 
>> at all (reading the list of "types" in schema I can see why).  And 
>> what's the benefit of having the schema machine readable?  
>> Validation?  It only provides syntactic validation.  You still need 
>> to do your own semantic validation.
> >
>> Schema value == 0.
> First, you just said that the schema does syntactic validation. So 
> that means that the schema's value is greater than zero. It does 
> something that otherwise _every implementor_ would have to do in code.

Sorry, that should have been NET value.  I have yet to see a schema 
developed before a sample document.  I have seen them automatically 
generated by tools.  I also think XML Schema is overly complicated and 
the likelihood of misunderstanding is high given the complexity level.

I mean, why is there short, long, int, and byte?  Thats a physical 
representation in what ought to be a logical description.  Continued 
reading of XML schema leaves me with a nasty taste.  Clearly the 
creators of this thing are C or Java programmers with limited 
theoretical experience and no talent for real abstraction.

> Sixth, the existence of schema languages (and XML in general) puts 
> pressure on vendors to open up and document their file formats. What 
> was, historically, a moral obligation becomes also a technical one.
>> ...
>> Its still a dump of internal data.  BTW, I see some ballyhooage about 
>> MS using XML for Office.  You know what MSXML looks like?
>> <data7>AB373947F879874983792283787AC5E</data7>
> Your theory is at odds with the reports of people who have reviewed 
> the product and also at odds with the published claims of Microsoft.

My observation is based on the PList formats they store now.  The 
average app stores a few hundred kilobytes of preference data.  MS 
Awful stores tens of megabytes in PList format of the format A39F939302 
= B9890982C3E3543...

Plus MS has a loooong history of screwing people with their file 
formats and being something of a roach motel for data.  Once in MS 
format they make it difficult to get it out.

>> Or not.  The preference is not.  And I showed you the pointlessness 
>> of XMLizing them.  They did the XML to please the zealots.
> Or perhaps for compatibility with hundreds of software tools?

This "hundreds of tools" is every bit as compelling as the repeated 
"thousands of programs" available to Windows users - but I notice you 
mentioned you use a Mac.  So clearly you're not swayed by quantity over 
quality.  The XML tools useful for editing PLists is basically zero.  
PLists are a cheap and convenient data serialization format.  Thats it. 
  The XML is strictly a fashion play.  Like the porting of WebObjects to 
Java.  Which was also a move driven by fashion.

> Maybe it is all _you_ need. But I've been using schemas (was: DTDs) 
> for more than eight years so please trust me when I say that _I_ need 
> them.

Really?!?!!?!  XML 1.0 first edition was published in 1998.  Surely 
DTD's don't predate that.  So I'm not buying that statement either.


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