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   RE: [xml-dev] XUL Compact Syntax Study Now Online - Is XML toohard for A

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On Thu, 2004-04-22 at 00:22, Kirkham, Pete (UK) wrote:
> As I tried to illustrate with the lisp 'syntax', the added value is in being able to manipulate the data with a different set of tools and abstractions, not in a mechanical transform from one encoding to another. Merely eliding redundant information will gain you a little 'friendliness', as humans are good at getting meaning from context automatically. But IME the power in a representation of data is in the abstractions it facilitates and the patterns it allows the user to observe and create, not the amount of compression it supports (though compression brings features spacially closer together so pattern mining becomes easier). 
> You can't do arithmetic easily with Roman numerals, so the 'compact syntax' of Arabic numerals was a big gain, but either serve as a datum for a copyright year. But that didn't mean we started using Arabic script for language.
it was the positional nature of the symbols in arabic numbers that was
important, not the compactness.

but it's not without problems, and the invention of 0 (1000 years?
later)  made it work a lot better. it was very easy in the early days of
arabic notation to get the positions and therefore the calculations
wrong. various dotted (dots to hold positions, dots over numerals)
notations were invented to denote position.

we have a lot to thank the indians for, as well as the arabs.


> Many of the compact syntaxes give a local gain in one domain by directly supporting the abstractions for that domain, such as RNC, but don't impact on the general XML case. For XUL, a wisywig editor may be best for the occasional user, a lisp binding would allow macros to be used for some abstraction and automation and agile development, and a UML2 HUTN mapping could give direct model-driven-development support via QVT (http://qvtp.org/) for the commercial engineers (ie the UML tool thinks it's a profile of UML rather than the output of a code generator). None of those are capabilities inherent in XML, nor are they really anything to do with the syntax.
> Pete
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