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On Mon, 2004-04-19 at 16:46, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
> I don't buy it. I buy that people are creating alternative
> syntaxes, alternative applications (eg, RELAX NG which may
> or may not have an 'unstoppable momentum' but has yet to
> show up in an RFP so not in prime time yet). I don't buy
> that these are easier to learn or read once one is comfortable
> with XML. To me the ease of any one feature or the complexity of
> any one language is quickly overcome by the network effect of
> instances and tools shared widely.
Readability has a lot to do with verbosity, and the RELAX NG compact
syntax is certainly a lot less verbose than the XML syntax.
Another point in favor of the compact syntax is the use of regex-like
constructs. As a programmer, this is something I am already comfortable
One could adapt a readability formula, such as Flesch-Kincaid or SMOG to
work with schema syntax. (Well, for the purposes of this discussion,
anyway.) If one did, one would find that the compact syntax is
considerably easier to read, especially for more complex expressions.
Whether one perceives this difference in readability is another matter.
I certainly do. On the other hand, if one is good enough at interpreting
the XML syntax, the extra cognitive load would not be noticeable. It
would probably still be _measurable_ though.
Does anyone know if there has been any work done on the readability of
programming languages? I suspect it would be quite interesting reading.