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   Re: [xml-dev] Attribute Order (Was: Create XML )

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[Simon St.Laurent]

> I don't find abstraction to be the essence of XML.  I find XML to be a
> text-based format with labels inside - and I do suspect that foundation
> is what makes it popular, not the damn Infoset.

I suspect that _metaphor_ is the "essence" of XML and predecessors.  Take a
piece of paper with text (and whatever) on it.  What do people naturally do
with it besides read it?  They highlight passages (inline markup), they
circle or otherwise mark blocks (block type elements), they move blocks
around with scissors and tape (transformations), and they insert comments
and instructions at points - like proofreader's marks (PIs and inline
elements), and they write notes to themselves (more inline elements, though
XML is weak in its support for annotations, IMHO).

A "data-centric " view is still that of a series of blocks in a report, so
it still works with the metaphor.

I think that whenever some abstraction or feature strays too far from this
basic metaphor, more and more people start having problems in understanding
XML.  I18n doesn't fit too well, but at least people know about other
languages.  Attributes sort of fit with annotating the purpose of an inline
markup, so they sort of fit but still people are arguing about them because
they do not fit all that well.

Either we should try to stick within the metaphor or we should replace it
with a more compelling one.  Several can even be used together, but what
does not work so well is to have a lot of features that do not fit any
familiar metaphor.

XML Schema, anyone?


Tom P


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