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   RE: [xml-dev] What is the rule for parsing XML in a namespaceinside HTML

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At 10:41 AM -0700 7/15/04, Joshua Allen wrote:

>You have perfectly described where our disagreement is.  People want to
>be able to write web pages which can be read in web browsers.  That is
>the overwhelming majority use case.

You are operating under the common misconception that what the 
document publisher expects or wants to happen with the data is in 
fact how readers will use the data. But that's not how the world 
actually works, it's never been how the world works, and it's never 
going to be how the world works; before, during, or after the Web.

The publisher generates information in some format. They have no 
control over or reasonable expectation of what readers will do with 
this information. Some will import it into databases. Some will read 
it for amusement. Some will feed to search engines. Some will search 
it for hidden messages. Some will use it to learn English. There's no 
telling. Readers have their own needs, and will use the content to 
satisfy those needs, irrespective of what the publisher might have 
intended them to do.

For instance, I use Amazon's web site to fill my iTunes database with 
album covers. I doubt that's anything  Amazon ever considered 
somebody doing, but so what? The information's there so I use it in 
the way that makes sense to me.

A lot of readers' needs are better served if the data is well-formed. 
And it's not particularly hard to make it well-formed so why not do 
it? Sometimes you can get away without well-formedness. I don't think 
Amazon's main site is well-formed, but if it were life would be 
easier for a lot of the tools that process amazon data. In fact, 
Amazon could do less work by exposing the data as one site rather 
than two. If they had made their site more accessible to screen 
scraping, they would have sold more books and other things earlier 
because more affiliates could have more easily accessed and massaged 
their data. And a lot of other people would have gotten a lot of 
other cool things done too that instead had to wait till they 
published and maintained a separate XML interface.

   Elliotte Rusty Harold
   Effective XML (Addison-Wesley, 2003)


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