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   Re: [xml-dev] Is HTML structured or unstructured information?

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On 8/11/05, Philippe Poulard <Philippe.Poulard@sophia.inria.fr> wrote:
> Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
> > ...
> > HTML is the example many think they understand.
> > HTML is not just a presentational vocabulary.
> > META tags, for example, are not presentational.
> > FORM tags aren't strictly presentational.  Even
> > DIVs aren't strictly presentational.  In fact,
> > almost any tag has aspects of presentation and
> > content (note I am not using the term 'semantic'
> > here because presentation is a semantic). The
> > principle 'separation of presentation and content'
> > is flaky in practice.
> > ...
> hi, Claude
> IMHO, presentation is not semantic : semantic is used for terms that
> means something ; you will say that "<b>" and "<i>" means "bold" and
> "italic", but as a meaning of a tag applies on its content, you can't
> say that :
> "my name is <b>Philippe Poulard</b>" has not the same meaning that :
> "my name is Philippe Poulard" ;

Sure you can: the code that decides how to display the two will most
likely decide they have different meaning.... Semantics aren't just
for humans any more!

<snip>conclusions that follow from the assumption that only humans
care about the meaning of tags</snip>

> the real question is not about "structured or unstructured" information,
> because by definition markup languages ARE structured, but rather about
> "semantic or not semantic" : XML as well RDBMS may structure both
> semantic and non-semantic information

Respectfully disagree: structure and semantics are in the eye of the
beholder: tell me is a blob of XML stored in a RDB structured or not? 
Does the same blob have any semantic meaning? What if the RDB can
parse the blob into a SOAP descriptor? What if it used a grammar
stored in another blob to do so?

Peter Hunsberger


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