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Re: [xml-dev] XML Literalist

Dear Roger,

Thanks for your kind off-list reply. Of the flurry of thoughts that I
attempted to squeeze into my preceding message, I left out one that I
believe bears being mentioned too:

On 20.03.2011 14:43, Costello, Roger L. wrote:
> [Definition] Literalist: A person who adheres to the literal representation of a statement or law; a person who translates text literally.

I think that -- completely independently of whether you are right about
what the Spec says about attributes -- it is a methodologically bad move
to invoke the wording of the original specification at the point where
the object that was specified in it has developed way beyond it (to a
point that many on this list would probably call being over-ripe).

If I understand the original intentions correctly, the XML spec was
supposed to be skeletal in many aspects, so that the skeleton could be
adorned in ways not yet envisioned back in 1998.

One can argue whether the original skeleton was constructed well, and
one can argue about the suitability, usability and mutual relationships
of the subsequent adornments, but one shouldn't suddenly jump on their
table and cry "Halt! Mend your ways! The Original Intention was
different, you've twisted it!". I believe that the original intention
was meant to be underspecified, and anyway, we're looking at evolving
technology in a world of evolving challenges that the technology needs
to adapt to. In other words, I'd say that in this very case, there is no
place for being a Literalist, unless what you intend is historical
*de*scription of the evolving field -- but, crucially, not *pre*scription.

Best regards,


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