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   Re: [xml-dev] bohemians, gentry

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On Wed, 04 Dec 2002 16:33:26 -0500, Jonathan Robie <jonathan.robie@datadirect- 
technologies.com> wrote:

> I think John Cowan's text implies that there might be problems with reuse if 
> there are datatypes in the data and XQuery is being used to process it. I 
> would be interested in seeing some concrete examples that illustrate this 
> point.

If you start with a text mindset and add datatypes to make life easy for
machines, it's hard to imagine a problem ... maybe Rich Salz's scenario
if a query was looking for a floating point value and the instance was too
long to fit in a floating point representation, I don't know enough about XQuery 
 to know if it would work or not, or if it's implementation-dependent.

The problem is if you start with an object mindset or an RDBMS mindset
and think of XML as merely an implementation detail for some wizard to 
worry about.  That leads to situations such as we see with Word's
HTML format (and presumably its future XML format) -- you get stuff
that is querable in principle, but so nasty to work with in practice (e.g., it 
 requires microparsing of the element or attribute values) so as to
make 3rd party queries impractical.

Again, the issue isn't datatypes per se, but getting so wrapped up in
the world of proprietary wizards and GUIs that you lose sight and control 
of the XML itself.  My concern is that XQuery, by starting from
the premise that it is a "strongly typed language" (not to mention one
that is too complex for ordinary mortals to fully comprehend), will encourage 
 reliance on the Wizard behind the curtain rather than
honest proletarian labor :-)

To switch back to Uche's metaphor, the concern is that  XQuery declares
itself part of the Aristrocracy, and says of the Bohemians "let them
eat cake" [I've been trying to work in that line all afternoon, sorry!]
Uche is saying that if you want real interoperability across platforms
and across tools and across time, you are better off sticking with the
Bohemian diet of bread and avoiding the cake -- plain old text and
markup that anyone can understand.  But this discussion is basically
pointless in the sense that there's no necessity determined by the
technology, it's all in the mindset that the technology facilitates ...
which can be resisted if you're careful enough.  


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