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   RE: [xml-dev] The XML 500 word Challenge

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At an idealized level, XML is a generic syntax that is amenable to a wide
variety of contexts and domains. Its utility is attributable to the
following qualities:

1) It is text based
Labels, delimiters, and content are encoded as Unicode characters.

Consequence: There are few impedements to transfering XML data across
heterogenous system boundaries. XML documents can be created using simple
text editors.

2) It is well-formed
The syntax can be interpreted unambiguously and without reliance upon rules
of inference.

Consequence: XML parsers are simple and ubiquitous. 

3) It is partially self-describing
All content (data) is labeled.

Consequence: Content type can be clearly identified, both by human and
machine.  However, semantics are implicit.

4) It is structured
The syntax describes a single-rooted tree.

Consequence: Most real-world content maps well to hierarchies; hierarchies
are also readily grasped by human beings. Thus, XML documents tend to be

At a practical level, XML has some warts: 

1) It is text based

Consequence:  Not all data is efficiently encoded as characters.

2) It is well-formed

Consequence: Well-formedness is wordy.

3) It is partially self-describing

Consequence: Names alone are often not sufficient to unambigously convey

4) It is structured

Consequence:  Data retrieval from trees is not always efficient.  Some data
cannot be naturally modeled hierarchically.


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