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Re: [xml-dev] Is an XML vocabulary a Domain Specific Language(DSL)?

On Wed, 12 Sep 2012 12:51:39 +0100, Stephen D Green <stephengreenubl@gmail.com> wrote:

I'd say it depends if it is (directly or indirectly) executed (by a computer).
UBL - not usually (to have a business order or invoice document being 'executed' by a computer would be unusual, and alarming to auditors for one thing, perhaps with a few exceptions such as internal trading orders between departments in the same organisation, and it wasn't really designed for that example)

Stephen D Green

On 12 September 2012 11:59, Costello, Roger L. <costello@mitre.org> wrote:
Hi Folks,


Are there some XML vocabularies that would be considered DSL's and other XML vocabularies that would not be considered DSL's?





I am curious why one would say that UBL is not a domain specific language - or why we wouldn't consider an "invoice" document as being "executed" by a computer.

I suppose a UBL transaction is not in the same league as a specific computer language instruction - but an "invoice" does trigger a specific set of actions within those classes of programs that understand what an "invoice" is (and I think in a similar sense as saying a "do-while" statement triggers a specific set of actions within those classes of programs that understand what this "do-while" means within this specific programming language).  

I think most accounting application programs have always expected data from invoices in electronic form as input - even if you had to key it in manually, convert from paper via scan and OCR, or receive it directly in electronic form, so I see no particular auditing issue as long as we have a way of according an electronic-only version of an invoice the same validity/authority as a paper invoice.  UBL's domain is the domain of all standard business documents that get exchanged between organizations (but not the actions that are executed in the receiving programs) and provides a global, royalty free, standard way of encoding that information.

So I suppose you could argue that UBL by itself, only describes the content of packets of information being exchanged, and does not, by its very definition, cause any actions unless acted upon by programs that are not part of UBL - but only understand what a UBL document is, and the underlying accounting concept of "invoice" and how to process it.

However, if you consider UBL based applications (say Tradeshift's cloud-based social business network ), a UBL transaction can trigger actions in the Tradeshift network, even before it hits the intended receiver/processor of the transaction.  For example, the sender (supplier) might have opted for instant payment so they don't have to wait for the normal 30/60/90 day payment periods from the customer.  So in this sense I think a UBL transaction can get "executed"....i.e. cause a specific set of pre-defined actions to occur, somewhat separate from the invoice processing by the customer itself.  (even so, I see where we could argue that the UBL transaction by itself only assumes a specific action by a receiving program, and does not per se define it.  Then again couldn't we say the same thing about a "do-while").

Am I missing something here?      If so, I will blame old age.  ;-)


CyberSpace Industries 2000 Inc.
XML Training and Consulting
Documentary/Multimedia Productions

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