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   Re: [xml-dev] Idea - std. non-flat <g><e/></g> syntax

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I am not really at the FAQ level on this.  I am an accountant with advanced technical
skills but far from a professional programmer type. I can say that I have studied and
understand most of the available XML technology and information theories behind it. Having
said that, the advice you provide is perfectly correct if I am interested in writing XSLT.
I would most admittedly need some help. :) However, your stylesheet example was really a
diversion from the central message ...the stylesheet was assumed in my "idea"(not that I
could easily write it).

Actually, I am saying that the stylesheet is so self-evident that we SHOULD not even need
it. We SHOULD (without anything application specific) be able to say  to users: "Here is
what your files look like in this here <g><e/></g> thing... and that is ok to use as an
alternative with this or any other XML file you need to create.".

>>XML has (almost) no fixed names at all<<

Yes, I am simply reflecting on the idea that XML could have had something like <g><e/></g>
at the level of reserved words in a programming language. It doesn't go against the intent
of XML because it is not a vocabulary, it is a general condition of all flat xml in any
vocabulary. It is like where I can transpose a range in a spreadsheet, but xml has no
official syntax to "flip" between flat to hierarchy ... and back.

After trying this on some existing files, I realized that, from now on, I will seldom want
to directly use native flat formats, and will front them all, all such vocabularies, with
"<g><e/></g>" internally at some point. That "aha" is the only reason I posted this idea.

I will also be writing some scripts for this, but we can agree that XSLT fills this purpose
 ... and no doubt the particulars of XSLT is better taken up on a different forum.

Thanks much. I will check out Jeni's site ... have been there before and IIRC the same
grouping discussion is in her book.


bill p

David Carlisle wrote:

> > Going the other way might require reordering the groups of records to place all with
> > identical attributes together. Or the stylesheet could explicitly state the matching
> > attributes that cause a <g><e/></g> block and that would be pretty easy. What is
> > interesting is that users would do this grouping themselves ... they would do it as a
> > matter of convenience when creating the <g><e/></g> blocks.
> >
> > The ultimate improvement of your example is an identity transform copying everything
> > verbatim except this expansion of the <g><e/></g>. That is the stylesheet that would
> > substantially implement what I am proposing for files preprocessed against the
> > stylesheet. How easy is that? :)
> >
> Both of those (which would each only require a line or two of xslt) are
> day to day faq questions on xsl-list Perhaps you should move this there,
> or see the usual reference for grouping on Jeni's site
> http://www.jenitennison.com/xslt/grouping/
> Grouping and flattening of hierarchical data is just what XML is all
> about, so I'm not sure I understand this thread really. I think you are
> proposing that the element names be hard coded into applications but
> that would be going against the whole point of XML which is a meta
> language for defining vocabularies. Specfic vocabularies such as xhtml
> have fixed element names but XML has (almost) no fixed names at all.
> David
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