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RE: [xml-dev] Evaluation Criteria for Markup Languages

1.  Isn't this the same problem as railroad schedules across different  
time zones before time zones or trying to send mail to an address in  

2.  The typical solution is the global solution:  ignore local  
traditions without violating them, that is, as in the case of unversal  
time, don't use the local time traditions.

We've all had to build in code for local naming traditions, addresses,  
heck, even had to change the colors on the web page because a new  
party took power.  We've had to go through hundreds of pages of  
documents to ensure there are no references to the star of david or  
israel (yes, we do).   Again, multiple authorities over a process or  
data set is the recipe for chaos in integrated systems.

We solved the problem for hypermedia by accepting Berners-Lee's  
admonitions to let the links snap and accept one universal  
getting-a-file-and-mailing-it-back addressing technology.  It was  
simpler than letting everyone make exceptions and it uncovered enough  
unknown exceptions to create careers for some of us.  K.I.S.S.  
sometimes comes at the cost of frosting the locals.   Consensus can  
cost too much.

Something of a challenge then: what is the simplest possible way to  
create addresses that will operate across the most addressed  
recipients where in fact, you have to identify both the address and  
the recipient and in this case, they CAN'T be the same names?


Quoting "Cox, Bruce" <Bruce.Cox@USPTO.GOV>:

> To reinforce Michael's comment: the industrial property community is  
> currently negotiating a new standard (will be ST.96) for exchanging  
> industrial property information among offices around the world.  We  
> are debating exactly the issue Michael cited: should name and  
> address models be rich enough to model any address anywhere with all  
> the different geographic region indicators and all the cultural  
> variations (multiple last names, for example); or should they be  
> simple (fullname, addressline1 addressline2, etc.)?  Some offices  
> want richer models for internal processing, others do not, based on  
> their local laws and traditions.  The negotiated standard is likely  
> to allow both (the exchange compromise), which will increase  
> complexity for some, reduce it for others, and just annoy the  
> daylights out of everyone else.  We seem to be in a fractious mood  
> this year.
> Bruce B Cox
> Director, Policy and Standards Division, OCIO, USPTO
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Kay [mailto:mike@saxonica.com]
> Sent: 2011 August 28, Sunday 18:38
> To: Costello, Roger L.; xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Evaluation Criteria for Markup Languages
> Very often XML is used to convey data which itself is a model of  
> reality. If reality is complex, then the rules for the data may also  
> be complex. An important criterion for assessing the markup language  
> is not whether or not it is complex, but whether or not it is an  
> accurate model of reality.
> For example, the real-world "rules" for personal names and addresses  
> are incredibly complex. If you assess a vocabulary for names and  
> addresses by its complexity, then you may end up deciding that the  
> best vocabulary is one that is in fact incapable of modelling the  
> real world.
> Of course, producing a simple model of a complex reality is a  
> desirable goal; it's a process called abstraction and it's the key  
> to all good design. But there's a difference between being simple  
> and being simplistic, and it's very fine line between the two.
> Michael Kay
> Saxonica
> On 28/08/2011 23:17, Costello, Roger L. wrote:
>> Hi Folks,
>> I propose the following two criteria for evaluating XML markup languages.
>> -------------------
>> Criterion #1
>> -------------------
>> Markup languages must clearly distinguish between:
>> - Markup for expressing individual concepts, i.e., markup combinators.
>> - Mechanisms for combining markup combinators. When markup is  
>> combined, the meaning of the combined markup must be specified.
>> Analogy: each digit 0 - 9 expresses an individual, well-defined  
>> concept. The digits may be juxtaposed and the meaning of the  
>> combined digits is well-defined. Thus, each digit is a digit  
>> combinator and juxtaposition is the mechanism for combining them.
>> Example: XML Schema does a good job with this criterion. For  
>> example, xs:element is clearly markup for expressing individual  
>> concepts, and xs:sequence is clearly a mechanism for combining  
>> them. The meaning of the combined elements is that they possess a  
>> sequential ordering.
>> Example: The Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) does a  
>> fantastic job of separating markup combinators from the mechanisms  
>> for combining them. In XBRL the markup combinators are defined in  
>> an XML Schema and the mechanisms for combining them are specified  
>> in a separate XLink document.
>> -------------------
>> Criterion #2
>> -------------------
>> The rules defined in markup languages must be general. Scientists  
>> and mathematicians are never satisfied with principles or theorems  
>> that apply in only some cases. They seek general rules. So too,  
>> markup language designers must seek general rules for combining  
>> markup. Rules that apply only some of the time--that is, rules with  
>> exceptions--must be avoided.
>> Example: XML Schema does not do well with this criterion. Many of  
>> its rules have exceptions. Here are examples of rules with  
>> exceptions:
>> Rule: a xs:sequence contains any xs:elements.
>> Exception: if two xs:elements have the same name but different data  
>> types then they cannot both be in xs:sequence.
>> Rule: The value of the base attribute in<xs:extension base="...">   
>> must reference a xs:complexType.
>> Exception: if the parent of xs:extension is xs:simpleContent then  
>> the value of the base attribute may reference either a  
>> xs:complexType or a xs:simpleType.
>> John Cowan reports that XML Schema has nearly 100 rules with  
>> exceptions. These make the language difficult to use and understand.
>> Comments?
>> /Roger
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