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Re: [xml-dev] RESTful operations on document fragments

Anne Thomas Manes wrote:
> You could always add an abstraction layer that maps URLs (resources)
> to document fragments. In your Bible example, you could define a
> resource for each verse in the document. Therefore you can PUT an
> updated verse, and a bit of code would then update the appropriate
> document fragment.

I can always create abstraction layer upon abstraction layer.  They make 
pretty piles, until they fall over.

I guess my basic surprise is that this seems like something that would 
be frequently useful, worth having as standard equipment, but it isn't.

Maybe it's just that HTTP and URIs were pretty much developed before XML 
and its many ways of slicing and dicing came on the scene.  There have 
been plenty of misunderstandings, my own included, about things that 
should have been possible but weren't.

There really hasn't even been much movement that direction despite years 
of having all kinds of XML practically begging to be sliced and diced on 

The early drafts of XLink did include some thoughts in this direction:


'If the connector is "?XML-XPTR=", this signals an intent that the 
entire locator is to be transmitted to the host providing the resource, 
and that the host should perform the XPointer processing to extract the 
sub-resource, and that only the sub-resource should be transmitted to 
the client.'

But that vanished pretty early.  Maybe it's time to revive it.

Hmm... Internet-Drafts aren't that hard to prepare.  I'll have to think 
about it.

Simon St.Laurent
Mostly retired XML troublemaker

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