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RE: [xml-dev] 'is-a' Relationships in XML?

OK. Thanks for clarifying this. I agree to some extent, though a spec usually takes it for granted that a child attribute applies to the parent element, etc and doesn't necessarily spell this out or that would make the spec too long. To have to state explicitly that 'date' is the date of the 'parent' document without letting it be inferred that the date applies to the parent rather than a certain child or sibling element seems to add too much to what the spec has to spell out. But if I accept in principle that semantics are added to XML in a spec  or equivalent rather than relying on XSD and node names I guess that makes a spec vital. It seems a little 'backward' if we cannot formalise this using some XML technology though and have to rely on human prose, doesn't it?

-----Original Message-----
From: Liam R E Quin
Sent:  03/05/2010 9:11:20 pm
To: stephengreenubl@gmail.com
Cc: Michael Kay; 'xml-dev'
Subject:  RE: [xml-dev] 'is-a' Relationships in XML?

On Mon, 2010-05-03 at 19:52 +0000, stephengreenubl@gmail.com wrote:
> So making an 'employee' element  a child of an 'employer' element
> clearly implies some semantics that the employer 'has' the employees.

No - it implies things about the XML element. If you choose to
associate, in your mind or otherwise, the element called "employer" with
something in the non-digital here-and-now, that's up to you, but it's
doing more than XML does for you.

In a specific usage context of XML (often called an "XML application"),
such a relationship might be defined, but it's the application that
defines it, not XML itself. An application in this sense might mean
the XBRL specification, XBRL documents, and the way in which one is
expected to use XBRL documents - or it might mean a piece of software.

Getting from the digital world of bits to the here-and-now fleshly
world of atoms and smiles is an unsolved problem in general.


Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
Ankh: irc.sorcery.net irc.gnome.org www.advogato.org

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