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   Re: [xml-dev] Principles of XML design

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In article <0fa13582277ef91a61197ef274c686b8@rbii.com> you write:

>I have, in fact, had the requirement for maintaining attribute order in 
>XML laid upon me more than once by people writing things like editors,

So what?  All languages - human languages, programming languages,
markup languages - have features that are not semantically significant,
but are preserved by editors for readability.  Objecting to XML editors
that change attribute order is like objecting to C code editors that
change the indentation: perfectly reasonable, but nothing to do with
whether it's significant in the language.

>The point here is that a *syntax* defines nothing more than the grammar 
>of a data format...

And XML is not *just* a syntax in that sense.  Some aspects of its
semantics are made explicit in the XML spec, some are omitted, and
some are left to the implementation.

>That the vast majority of XML tools works one way vs. another 
>is largely due to a shared understanding of processing model in the 
>community (which should be documented), not the grammar of XML.

You're right that it's not the grammar of XML, but XML is not
just the grammar.

>> You can of course construct even more egregious examples, such as a
>> format in which data is encoded by the number of spaces between
>> attributes.  That isn't XML.

>For some people it is. For some people, all whitespace is 
>significant... but again, that depends on the application aka. 
>processing model.

People for whom whitespace between attributes is significant *in
the application* are not using an XML application.

-- Richard


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