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   Re: [xml-dev] NMTOKENS: good or evil?

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Laurent Le Meur wrote:

>It is still bizarre that a native feature of xml has so little support in first
>generation xml tools, and forces users to manipulate strings "by hand". But ...
>xml is a young technology.
Not bizarre at all.  Developers want XML technologies to reflect their 
needs.  So they expose
the parts of XML that they need, and don't do anything that would 
promote or entrench the
extraneous parts of XML.

This freedom in the long run gives us better and simpler technology, 
they hope, but at the
cost of making the current technology ratty, tatty and shitty.  It seems 
a little cynical
sometimes. And futile: the next generation of technology with the same 
attitude will also
be shitty. The better way is to let the market of users decide what is 
good technology,
not the whims of implementers.  (So rather than providing no API for 
PIs, for example,
provide the API but give arguments why it is no good.)

I think this distinction is quite important: when an implementer buys 
into a standard,
they are buying into an agreement for a complete and common set of 
features; when a
user buys into a standard, they only need to buy into the features they 
need.  Think of
the havoc caused to XSD early on by tools that generated ambiguous 
content models.

(Of course, perhaps the most bizarre of all is when one standard adds 
features to support
some other standard, but then alters them so they are no longer 
compatible: think xsi:nil
and xs:NOTATION. "I have come not to praise NOTATION/NULL but to bury him!")

Rick Jelliffe


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