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   Re: [xml-dev] Unicode With Angle Brackets

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Jonathan Robie wrote:

> Here's a view that I might call the "Only Structure" view: XML, like any 
> language, has a surface syntax and associated semantics. "Unicode With 
> Angle Brackets" describes the surface syntax, and the BNF in the XML 
> Recommendation tells how to parse this syntax and what structures it 
> expresses. The labelled structures expressed by an XML document are the 
> semantics of the document.

That's the key thing. I'd be hard pushed to accept an XML document 
has semantics via its labelled structures. But I'm thinking about 
semantics in a restricted sense, namely the model theoretic sense.

I think some people here agree/believe/know that XML document + 
program has semantics, and others agree/believe/know that it's 
obvious an XML document has meaning, but it can difficult to carry 
on a conversation due to the varying nuances on the word 'semantics'.

Personally, I would call a labelled structure in XML (like a 
tagname) an 'index'. For example, a bear pawprint is an index - it's 
'in the world', and it might mean something, but that depends (and 
changes) on who or what is looking at it. This is very close to some 
treacherous philosophical waters I'd rather stay out of (when it 
comes to software anyway).

> Are there many people who feel the "Only Structure" view is an abuse of 
> XML?

Not really. I think it's a limited view, but worth preserving, 
becuase it stops us making questionable assumptions about XML documents.

Bill de hÓra


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