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Fwd: [xml-dev] Not using mixed content? Then don't use XML

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tim Cook <tim@mlhim.org>
Date: Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 5:59 PM
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Not using mixed content? Then don't use XML
To: Michael Sokolov <msokolov@safaribooksonline.com>
Cc: XML Developers List <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>

It took me several days to get back to this conversation. I am happy I
was away so that I gained this insight about the collective thoughts
from the group.

My impression is that a VERY large percentage of the contributors here
are involved in text management; not application development.

From a developer point of view I love the additions to XML Schema 1.1.
  Now I can use XML, stay in one family of tools and perform
computational processing across data.  But until 1.1, XML was just a
pain to move around, parse the data back out and do something

So, before you go bashing on XML Schema, just admit that it might no
be useful for you.  That doesn't mean it is bad or not useful to


On Tue, Mar 26, 2013 at 10:59 AM, Michael Sokolov
<msokolov@safaribooksonline.com> wrote:
> On 3/25/13 9:06 PM, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
>> (Rarer even than the schema-free respondents to this and related
>> threads, whose presence I've been excited to discover.)
> Here's another: in the last 10-15 years of working w/XML (mostly from
> publishers), we've almost entirely avoided schema, and although many (most)
> of the documents we've received have had DTDs associated, when possible
> we've ignored them.  The only time we absolutely had to learn about schema
> was when dealing with SOAP.  We have schema-lovers in our office, too: they
> tend to be the people looking for someone to blame when things go wrong -
> they want to have some way of knowing whose fault is it when something
> fails. That's valid, but isn't really a helpful perspective for a creative
> problem-solver.
> I've often looked at schemas and DTDs as a potentially useful guide to a new
> data format (documentation), and to some extent they can be. But we often
> find that they fail in two ways:
> On the one hand the industry-standard, widely-used, schemas have usually
> been defined so broadly that they encompass a huge amount of possible markup
> that may never be encountered in (our) practice. This makes them useless as
> constraints on development since the cost of "support" for an entire schema
> is never really warranted. So we can't really leverage existing schemas
> easily, since we still end up having to analyze the actual corpus in order
> to understand which subset of the markup is used in practice, and this
> varies wildly from customer to customer.
> And on the other hand, schemas (and certainly DTDs), for all of their
> expressive power, often fail to capture the variety of interpretations given
> to markup.  I'm reminded of the customer that really wanted to put call-outs
> containing primary source document fragments inline in a document, but
> didn't have any appropriate tag defined in the DTD for that purpose.  Rather
> than simply being free to invent one, they choose to abuse the footnote tag
> for the purpose and added some completely unrelated convention to
> distinguish these structures from traditional footnotes.  Having become
> accustomed to this convention, they went on to invent other uses for
> footnotes as well - marketing blurbs went in there, too IIRC.  I'm sure
> markup abuse like this goes on all the time, and I think the slavish
> adherence to standards is partly to blame.
> -Mike Sokolov
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Timothy Cook, MSc           +55 21 94711995
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