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Re: [xml-dev] Re: Non-English languages in XSLT, XML Schema grammars

Tony Coates writes:

> Most specifications like XML Schema, XSLT, etc. are (in my experience) 
> essentially volunteer efforts.  Even if people work on these groups as 
> part of their job, they are allowed to spend 1 hour per week 
> once they've 
> finished the 50 hours of work per week that their 40 hour per week job 
> requires.

Well, it's very kind of you to assume that those of us who work on these 
standards are doing so on an unpaid volunteer basis.  I do know a few real 
heros for whom that's essentially true, but it really isn't fair to the 
rest of us to be given credit for the same level of sacrifice.  For at 
least some of us, being on groups like the XML Schema Workgroup is part of 
our day jobs, and we do get paid for it.  Not only do many of us put in 
far more than 1 hour per week, the charters of many W3C workgroups 
requires a greater commitment than that to maintain good standing.  At 
least one of the Schema WG charters suggested a planned commitment of 1 
day per week, with editors and chairs committing more.   When IBM signs me 
up to a workgroup, our advisory committee representative makes a 
commitment to W3C that I will be available for the time required to 
maintain good standing (of course, whether IBM pays me for that is between 
me and IBM.)

As to offering these or any other computer languages in more than one 
translated form, the tradeoffs are usual complex.  First of all there be 
considerable work to design each variant, I.e. to ensure that proper 
keywords were chosen, that each was properly suggestive of its purpose, 
that none could be taken as offensive, etc.  There would also be at least 
some additional testing effort required.  One would then have to define 
conformance rules:  must all processors accept all translations, or just 
one?  If the latter, then is it necessary for every widely published 
schema to be offered in all forms?  So, even if the work required to 
create the the translation schema (or XSLT) language itself were 
negligible, there would be at least some detrimental impacts on 
international interoperability.  While it certainly is a problem that tags 
like <element> make sense primarily in English, at least a schema written 
using that tag will be understood by any Schema processor. 


Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142

"Anthony B. Coates (XML-Dev)" <abcoatesecure-xmldev@yahoo.co.uk>
04/21/2008 07:01 PM
Please respond to abcoatesecure-xmldev
        To:     xml-dev@lists.xml.org
        cc:     (bcc: Noah Mendelsohn/Cambridge/IBM)
        Subject:        [xml-dev] Re: Non-English languages in XSLT, XML 
Schema grammars

Most specifications like XML Schema, XSLT, etc. are (in my experience) 
essentially volunteer efforts.  Even if people work on these groups as 
part of their job, they are allowed to spend 1 hour per week once they've 
finished the 50 hours of work per week that their 40 hour per week job 

It's amazing that some of these specifications are finished in a single 
language, let alone in multiple languages.  On top of that, it is unlikely 
that the translations would all be available at the same time, so there 
would be the difficult process of continuously releasing new translations, 
and deciding what level of support deployed applications can or should 
provide for a newly released translation.

However, if you are designing a tool, there is nothing to stop you 
providing your own translation for display/editing purposes, and having 
your tool use that translation.  The XML itself is just the storage 
format, and it shouldn't matter to speakers of French, Bulgarian, or 
Cantonese that the information is stored in XML with English 
element/attribute names, as long as the editor displays the language they 
want to see.  Or, the editor could save the XML in its own translated 
format with the element/attribute names translated to some language other 
than English, as long as it also allowed the XML to be saved with the 
elements/attributes in their default language so that standard tools can 
process the XML.

It's not that the XML formats have to have element/attribute names in 
English, it's just that having them in multiple languages is a lot of 
effort, more effort than most standardisation groups can provide.

Cheers, Tony.

On Fri, 18 Apr 2008 20:17:37 +0100, Ramkumar Menon 
<ramkumar.menon@gmail.com> wrote:

> Gurus,
> I had a question. Why is it that languages like XML Schema, XSLT etc 
> allow
> only English in the element and attribute names ?  I am not referring to 
> the
> content, but the actual elements and attributes defined by the grammar.
> i.e.  <schema>, <template>, <call-template>, <for-each>, <element>,
> <attribute> etc....
> Does it make any sense at all to allow these grammars itself to support
> writing schemas/xslts etc in local languages.
> Any designer tool can then interpret the text as per the character 
> encoding
> specified in the document declaration and render it according to the
> locale/language preferences.
> I know I am missing something very fundamental.
> Ram

Anthony B. Coates
Director and CTO
Londata Ltd
UK: +44 (20) 8816 7700, US: +1 (239) 344 7700
Mobile/Cell: +44 (79) 0543 9026
Data standards participant: genericode, ISO 20022 (ISO 15022 XML), 


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