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Re: [xml-dev] What does "optional" mean?

Thanks Michael.  Some comments not necessarily aimed in your direction  
as I am sure this doesn't happen in your work.

It's a challenge to manage an environment in which there are many and  
sometimes confusing options as is the case with the mil-tech-pubs DTDs  
given editors and authors who believe they have correctly created a  
document, hand it off to the XML staff to tag only to have the XML  
staff tell them their document as offered isn't valid although it  
looks nice and maybe resembles a document they've used in the past.    
Given multiple authorities on both the author and customer side  
offering requirements, parameterization looks attractive but it also  
seems to relocate the decisions without simplifying the system.

More options; more decisions.  Now the XSD is parameterizing,  
contributing content, resetting elements, etc. and the discussion of  
what the author provide but the schema allows or disallows gets even  
more computer-sciency and difficult to explain to the  
Word-Wu-li-Masters.  The schema turns into an analog of a relational  
table design and documents don't actually work as tables.  A  
pararmeterized object with explicit and immutable scope seems more  
appropriate but locks out options (a proper object, that is, mostly  
private with explicit public interfaces).  IOW, a system that isolates  
away the noise sources implying that the looseness leading to the  
challenge cited above can't happen.

But that's not XML.

It seems we'd be migrating toward the kind of schema John Cowan  
describes where everything is optional with a higher/orthogonal means  
of restricting productions controlled by ??? and while that isn't  
unrealistic, I'm not sure it helps to reduce complexity in the social  
network.  Optionality is a problem not simply because there are real  
and numerous requirements, but because not enough or the right people  
agree on what they are.

An unholy percentage of effort is expended finding an authority that  
can say or no and it sticks for longer than a single deliverable.   
Optional in this case means, once again, finding the right "selector"  
(not a CSS term in this use).


Quoting Michael Kay <mike@saxonica.com>:

> On 27/02/2012 03:34, Len Bullard wrote:
>> An XSD wrapper document to parameterize the validation: what would that look
>> like?
> Perhaps something like this:
> <xs:include schemaLocation="schema-with-params.xsd">
> <zz:with-param name="publication-status" select="'draft'"/>
> </xs:include>
> Michael Kay
> Saxonica
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