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   RE: [xml-dev] Readable syntaxes (was: XUL Compact Syntax Study Now Onli

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At 16:13 22/04/2004, Bob Wyman wrote:

> > This is why, in suitable contexts, compact=readable.
> > This is why RNC compact syntax is more readable
>         Compact is not always "readable". For instance, APL, Forth,
>even Hebrew (which omits vowels in common usage...) are often put
>forth as examples of compact syntax, however, they can't really be
>presented as very readable. Compact syntaxes often require the reader
>to do a great deal of mental context maintenance or pattern matching.
>There is no inherent relationship between terseness and readability.

Possibly a cause of my reluctance to get into rnc format.

>         There are a great many people who spend a great deal of time
>editing XML, XSL, etc. directly when it is simply unnecessary. An
>editor should present data in an easily understood, easy to edit form.
>How an editor stores or interchanges data shouldn't impact the syntax
>of the interface, only the semantics which are exposed.

I'm with you on that last sentence Bob.
Norman (I think) was too glib about presenting and editing.
I *think* he was emphasizing the good side of brevity for comprehension,
and quoted an easy xslt template.
   The more challenging example might be one of Norm Walsh's docbook
xsl:choose templates. For those you'd need a 24 inch screen (OK, so Tim
Bray has one, they are pretty rare :-) to get them all on screen.
  Omitted closures leave me twitchy Norman in cases like that.

If I'm authoring new content, either in XML or XSLT, I guess we are
into what Bob calls 'the syntax of the interface', i.e what I write,
not how its stored etc.
   That write review edit cycle is the one I do find a bit tiring
for XML/XSLT, but I've yet to find a syntax easier than pointy brackets,
or an editor that does the magic of letting me write and see it in
some abbreviated form, yet holds it on disk in pointy bracket form
for the 'wire'.

regards DaveP


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