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Arg, why is it that xml-dev is the only mailing list that I use that
requires a "reply to all" to get a copy to the list? Other lists seem to
work in the exact opposite fashion of xml-dev... In any case, I just
privately sent to Simon the following:
Simon St.Laurent <email@example.com> responds:
> Peter.Hunsberger@stjude.org (Hunsberger, Peter) writes:
> >If you're not going to have semantics then why do you need syntax ?
> It's not a question of whether things will have semantics -
> even things supposedly without semantics tend to acquire
> meaning. It's a question of what kind of value you get from
> standardizing semantics.
The question was somewhat rhetorical, but I am interested in this issue.
Unfortunately, I think you're ducking the issue a bit; doesn't syntax always
imply some level of standardized (common) semantics? If not, why bother
with the syntax? If you and I are going to communicate I think we'll get
further with muddled syntax than we will with muddled semantics? (Having
very limited French and Spanish abilities I can attest that this has
certainly been the case in some of my travels).
> I see lots of value for standardizing a core syntax, and some
> value for standardizing some semantics. I see negative
> return on efforts to standardize semantics and semantic
> mechanisms generally.
> (Locally, you're welcome to standardize all you want.)
Well, there's the issue; locally you have to standardize at least to the
extent that you and your direct partners agree on the semantics. However,
with the Web it's never just local: when you exchange XML with someone you
are exchanging semantics with everyone your partner has ever exchanged
(There's a long real life example of being forced into a complicated RDF
learning curve back in the days of prestandardized RDF lurking behind this
comment. Unfortunately, I suspect it is still covered by a NDA...)
> The subject line of this message, though, suggests pretty
> strongly that some folks see semantics as a way out of a
> syntactic trap. I believe those folks are fooling themselves at best.
Well that seems fair; having well defined semantics doesn't get you very far
with out a way to exchange them. However, it seems to me that like it or
not, you've already committed to standardized semantics just by defining