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   RE: [xml-dev] Adam Bosworth Article - what does "direct access" mean?

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I have no idea what you intended to contribute to this discussion. As a
"programmer weenie", I feel confident that you have no interest in my
opinion, but by promulgating this puerile drivel, you've earned a
special place in my regard. I don't know if it is your pedantic
sophistry or your insufferable rudeness which annoys me most. I do know
that your sorrow "not to have been proved wrong" strikes me more as
gloating than anything else and your narrow view of what XML can be has
devolved into a shibboleth you use to identify those worthy of your

I find XML useful in designing complex business systems because the
document-oriented nature of XML is better able to model many business
process artifacts than either the object-oriented or relational
paradigms. However, programming languages allow me to construct the
logic of these applications, and relational databases still offer
advantages in storage and retrieval. Hence, I'm very interested ways to
make these disparate models talk to each other in effective and
efficient ways.  I'm definitely not interested in "snatching" anything
away from you or anybody else.  I don't see "direct access" as anything
more than easier way(s) to incorporate XML documents into the systems I
design.  You may believe that I'm designing these systems incorrectly,
but I fail to see how this is a threat to XML in the general case.

John Cavnar-Johnson

-----Original Message-----
From: W. E. Perry [mailto:wperry@fiduciary.com] 
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2003 12:51 PM
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Adam Bosworth Article - what does "direct access"

Dare Obasanjo wrote:

> If you are not one of our customers then I doubt that you care what my

> opinion or that of my colleagues is about how to process and 
> manipulate XML.

On the contrary, I care very much indeed. XML-DEV is, at its best, the
forum for those with the passion and the experience to debate the nature
of XML-at-its-best. Let us pass over in silence the rudeness of
referring an XML-DEV thread to continuation in a separate forum that is
a) proprietary, b) structured as petitions from the great unwashed to
the (self?-appointed) experts of the Microsoft Corporation, and c) by
its charter and your own admission closed to discussion of those very
issues of this thread which the Microsoft Corporation has not embraced
in its idiosyncratic (possibly solipsistic) view of XML. Let us instead
concern ourselves with what it means to have the half, or more, of what
XML can do that no other tool I have seen in twenty years can match
snatched from us because it does not comport with a datamodel which is
nowhere to be found in the specification of XML. That of course we
cannot discuss on the forum to which you would direct me because the
narrow-minded premises of that forum do not comprehend the necessary

I wrote here on XML-DEV
(http://lists.xml.org/archives/xml-dev/199808/msg00330.html) more than
four years ago that this schism would break this community. I am very
sorry not to have been proved wrong. I will not, however, refer you to
some other forum where I, or anyone else, redefines XML to suit some
fluid preverbal Gestalt, or some cockamamie attempt to structure
semantics, meaning, or models. That effort is, and always was,
moonshine. The best example in all of scholarship of where we are headed
if models dictate syntax, instead of being elaborated from autonomous
instances of it, is the entire nineteenth century course of Homeric
scholarship in the hands of the 'learned Germans'. They were absolutely
precise in their models, nuanced to a fare-thee-well in semantic
distinctions, and--as Milman Parry proved with real instances of real
oral poetry--absolutely wrong in every conclusion. And how could they
not have been? Like the XML datamodelers their chief method of advancing
their science was petitio principii. Once they had concluded that the
text self-evidently indicated a particular model they could then use the
undoubted correctness of that model to impeach the accuracy or
authenticity--or to use terms closer to home here, the validity--of this
or that bit of inconvenient text, and brush it away to draconian
termination. The danger, then and now, to such an approach is that the
price of admission to scholarship in the field becomes the rote
memorization of the conclusions, the well-modelled semantics, of every
great man who has left his name upon this or that construct or theorem.
As the field moves thus inexorably further from the day-to-day stuff on
which it operates--the instances of text (unless, of course, you will
sneer at mere empirica and confine your theorizing purely to
abstractions)--the 'certifiable' practitioners become ever more removed
from the grunt work that now gets done in manipulating documents as
documents and ever less concerned with what needs doing, caring only how
what they deign to allow done should be done.

I did not come here for governance from the top, nor instruction out of
abstractions, nor motivation by models. I have real work to do with real
numerical financial data and the legally-privileged texts which decree
what must and may be done with it. My job is to read the one in para
materia with the other. That is inevitably mixed content, and the
processing which it demands depends in every instance on the specific
interweaving of the two in an instance text. That is content, and
whether or not it is a content model is utterly beside the point.

Do you have anything to offer as XML, or are we now to move on to a
different topic on this list?

Respectfully, as always, because I am here privileged to debate in the
company of those I would aspire to have call me their peer.

Walter Perry

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