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On May 7, 2005, at 11:45 AM, Richard Tobin wrote:
> In article <email@example.com> you write:
>> I'm probably being thick.. but I don't understand this. That's
>> because I think *semantics* are entirely in the eye of the beholder.
> If they were *entirely* in the eye of the beholder, then XML wouldn't
> help interoperability at all.
Actually, I'd argue that it's really the stuff built on top of XML
that helps out with interoperability more than XML itself.
> Long ago ASCII, and later Unicode, saved us from having how to decide
> how to encode characters for each application. Apart from saving us
> the effort of choosing, this had an obvious advantage: we could write
> all kinds of tool that were useful for many different file formats.
> We could edit Fortran programs and invoices with the same editor. We
> could grep for strings or count lines in any kind of text file.
The point here again is that the *tools* enabled the *application*,
not the data format. Note that I'm not arguing that standardisation
is not necessary, only that it alone is not sufficient. There are any
number of standard data formats that have all of the benefits alluded
to, but none of the practical benefits, because they have had little
take-up in the community.
> And this is a good thing, because imposing such (minimal) semantics
> allows us to write a range of generic XML tools.
I believe fairly strongly that in most cases, the "generic" tools are
actually domain specific, especially when applied.