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   RE: [xml-dev] Still not the essence of XML (was Re: [xml-dev] S-express

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  • To: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>,<xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Subject: RE: [xml-dev] Still not the essence of XML (was Re: [xml-dev] S-expressions vs. XML)
  • From: "Joshua Allen" <joshuaa@microsoft.com>
  • Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 20:56:25 -0800
  • Thread-index: AcK6TusGPs0uZEAzS1Gy3dAD7AGfrgAZaq3D
  • Thread-topic: [xml-dev] Still not the essence of XML (was Re: [xml-dev] S-expressions vs. XML)

I was a bit more charitable when reading the paper -- I assumed that the introductory comment about XML "deficiencies" was simply meant to acknowledge that there is a strain between the two common uses of XML (as syntax vs. as data) and not to "point a gun".
Obviously, XML is being used increasingly to exchange data model instances where data modeling is as important as syntax.  People are stretching XML beyond its roots in SGML.  Like Simon argues, maybe it would have been better if those people had decided to work with something besides XML (although one can understand that people are misled, considering the data-model orientation of many recent W3C specs, including XSD -- which is all about "hierarchical data modeling").  I didn't really see the Simeon/Wadler paper as an attempt to advocate one position or the other, but rather as an attempt to describe XML in terms of more "pure" data models and determine whether it works out.  Happily for the people using XML for data modeling, it looks like things are not so bad.

From:	 Simon St.Laurent [mailto:simonstl@simonstl.com]	
Sent:	 Sun 1/12/2003 7:26 AM	
To:	 xml-dev@lists.xml.org	
Subject:	 Re: [xml-dev] Still not the essence of XML (was Re: [xml-dev] S-expressions vs. XML)	

ricko@allette.com.au (Rick Jelliffe) writes:
>Simeon and Wadler do a good service by characterizing XML+WXS=PSVI
>deficiencies, but they waste their bullet by pointing their gun at
>"XML".  (I hope nothing in my comments shows any disrespect to them or
>the body of their paper!)

You're too respectful, Rick.  I'd say that paper is not only not "the
essence of XML", it has practically nothing to do with XML whatsoever.

Statements like this one just make me laugh at how far off the mark the
paper is:

>From the external representation one should be able to derive the
>corresponding internal representation.

This claim seems violently counter-intuitive for markup systems based on
text, especially if there is any interest in exchange among dissimilar
users across organizational boundaries or over time.

These gentlemen may be brilliant, no doubt, but they seem to ask
questions which have only coincidental intersections with XML and then
boldly title their paper "The Essence of XML".  Maybe they should call
it "the Essence of Hierarchical Data-Modeling" and work back to an XML
representation later.  If we're really lucky, they'll create a new
format that solves all of these problems instead of using XML.

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org

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