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Re: [xml-dev] Terminology: vocabulary, grammar, or something else?(Re: [xml-dev] Which latest and greatest XML Standards Should I Use ForXML-Grammar-Fortune?)

On Fri, 2012-11-16 at 15:38 +0100, Hermann Stamm-Wilbrandt wrote:

> Would you agree that this is an application then?

The application, in the software sense, is totally different to what
is/was meant by "SGML application" or "XML application." Sure, you wrote
an application, and it used XML. It used at least two XML vocabulariwes
- the XSLT XML application and your XML data application - to build a
software application.

The concepts are different. Think of "XML application" as meaning "an
application of XML technologies to define a class of documents" and
"software application" as "something that does something."

You can build a software application with XML technologies, yes.

When you do so, you're generally using several "XML Applications."

The XSLT processor is not an XML application in thta sense - the design
of XSLT itself, the specification at www.w3.org, plus the schema, that's
the XML Application.

This confusing use of the word "application" is why I don't like the
"XML Application and "SGML Application" terminology - terminology that
takes a widely-used word or term and gives it an essentially unrelated
meaning is obfuscatory.]

Here's the formal definition:

4.269 SGML application: Rules thta apply SGML to a text
processing application. An SGML application includes a formal
specification of the markup constructs used in the [SGML] application,
expressed in SGML. It can also include a non-SGML definition of
semantics, application conventions, and/or processing.

See e.g. page 126 of the SGML Handbook. I don't have a zero-dollar
reference, sorry.

Following notes in the SGLM specification explain that the SGML
applications includes the DTD, entity sets, and possible a concrete
syntax and/or capacity set (i.e. SGML declaration), and goes on to talk
about "the formal application of an SGML application" being the
marked-up documents. It then says,

An SGML application exists independently of any implementation. However,
if processing is defined by the application, the non-SGML
definition should include application procedures, implemented in a
programming or text processing language.

At that point the SGML application expands to include processing of the
marked-up text file. This last note is both confusing and misguided, as
it's suggesting a reference implementation rather than a specification
in a world where interopability and avoiding single-implementation
lock-in is the major objective! But I enclose it here for completeness.

The SGML application, then, is the marked up document, and possibly
software that process it, taken as a whole, but it is from the point of
view of the document, not the software.

Your program is an application of XML technologies, and it is a software
application, and if you have defined a DTD for the input, it is *also*
an XML application.

I hope that's clearer. Or maybe others can chime in and say I've misread
the SGML definition, that's fine too, although at least I think we can
all agree it's a confusing terminology.



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 freenode/#xml

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