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On Sat, Nov 08, 2003 at 12:37:15PM -0500, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
> At 11:22 AM -0500 11/8/03, Bob Wyman wrote:
> You are proposing to add binary data to the core of XML. When you
> tell me that you want to pass 32-bit integers as pure binary, then
> you are saying that 7, 07, +07, 0007, and so forth are the same
This is of course absurd.
If you choose to pass the string "007" then any interchange
encoding worth its salt will transmit "007".
If you choose to pass the typed value "integer: 7" then any
interchange encoding worth its salt will transmit that value,
possibly using as few as 3 or 4 bits.
> All data in an XML document is text, never anything else.
All data in a textual XML document is *represented* as text.
But that text often represents non-textual value.
The value of the textual representation is that it is shared,
not that it limits all possible data to text.
Happily, I can refer to dates, to amounts of money, to places,
to distances, to the colour of my socks, or to the strange
feeling of dislocation I had when I awoke from a dream last
night. None of these things are text, and yet you are reading
them in this textual email message.
It's interesting that there was similar opposition to MIME,
since all email was text, and yet MIME is part of what
enabled the World Wide Web, and is what lets people send
each other email attachments such as viruses :-)
The idea that we interchange text is, however, a fiction at
another level: as far as the computer is concerned, we
interchange sequences of numbers. Typically these are
sequences of octets of binary digits, although there have
been (and probably still are) systems that use other models.
When you say that only one view of a layered architecture is
acceptable, you succumb, I claim, to the hubris of the dogmatic.
WHen you say that your particular viewpoint is the only one
acceptable for others, you go beyond the dogmatic to the didactic.
It might be that interchange of binary information in any
non-textual representation is not a change we should sanction
at the W3C (although that will not stop others from doing it),
but at least let us all make a decision based on careful and
clear reasoning, and let that reasoning use reproducible
measurements wherever possible as a basis, not mere dogma.
Liam Quin, W3C XML Activity Lead, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/