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At 01:56 PM 12/4/2002 -0500, Mike Champion wrote:
>On Wed, 04 Dec 2002 13:11:03 -0500, Jonathan Robie
><jonathan.robie@datadirect- technologies.com> wrote:
>>But all data has a lexical representation, whether or not it also has a
>>data type. I still do not understand why the presence of a data type
>>makes it harder to take advantage of the lexical representation. I know
>>that a lot of people on this list believe that it does - and vehemently
>>believe that it does.
>Think of the "HTML" produced by MS Word, and (at least from reports here)
>the XML that the next version of Word will produce when one does
>a Save as XML (one tag per word, perhaps, probably lots of attributes with
>numeric values that make no sense without detailed documentation).
Certainly you can create schemas that are hard to understand without
detailed documentation. But I would think that datatypes would make it
*easier* to understand data, not harder. For instance, if the schema makes
it plain that something is to be interpreted as a date, that makes it
easier to reverse engineer the data.
Can you help me think of an example based on your MS Word scenario that
shows how the presence of a data type makes it *harder* for other programs
to use the data?
>Of course, one *could* just use the lexical representation, write DOM or
>XSLT code to put it into a more usable form, blah blah blah. But on the
>other hand, how many
>people are going to do this?
How does the presence of a data type make this harder, easier, more
necessary, or less necessary? Can you give me a concrete example?
>It is essentially a serialization of the Word object
>model, using a complex and very strongly typed schema, and the path of
>least resistance by far is to use Word to edit the stuff.
>(Which, ahem, is probably the whole point).
An editor for Word documents probably will be tightly coupled to the data
format. Other applications will not be - for instance, ad-hoc queries can
be issued against a serialized Word document using a generic XQuery processor.
Again, the presence or absence of data types seems pretty neutral here.