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

On 4/7/13 6:00 PM, G. Ken Holman wrote:
 > I hope this is considered helpful.

It is helpful, and it is a case where schemas are clearly not the root 
of the (dis)order, but it is also wretched in its own way.

Perhaps the European Union will next attempt to regulate away surprises?

I'm far from an anarchist, but I'm trying to hold down my dinner as I 
wonder who thinks this won't lead to strange side flows of information 
or creative abuse or the many other ills of bureaucracy.

"The struggle itself through the schemas is enough to fill a man's 
heart. One must imagine Kafka happy." - Sisyphus Today


> Perhaps if you are trying to respond to a flexible environment where
> data structures are allowed to change to a changing set of criteria or
> stimuli.
> But if you have a schema that, say, reflects general accounting
> principles that are adopted (or mandated; or even legislated), there can
> be benefit in treating the schema as sacrosanct and going through hoops
> with your data to match the schema.
> The benefit is the ability for all to set up processing systems that
> anticipate everything to be expected without having to accommodate
> surprises.  Companies may be investing a lot of money (building,
> testing, deploying) to adapt to a mandated schema, but once done they
> know they don't have to spend more money to react to data not conforming
> to that mandated schema.
> The country of Denmark legislated all government procurement invoicing
> to follow a strict schema.  There are even angle brackets in the
> legislation document itself (they won't do that again because of typos,
> but that's another story).  Now I think 400,000 companies who invoice
> the government follow a strict schema and the government doesn't need to
> accommodate surprise changes in the structures that arrive.  There is no
> flexibility in the general accounting principles being followed by the
> companies ... there is one expression of the information in an invoice
> that is of interest to the government, and so the government has
> legislated the structure for that expression.
> In fact I'm sure auditors would frown upon "imaginative" invoices or
> invoices that don't follow strict legal requirements.  The strict schema
> accommodates that and is the opposite of "harmful".  There is no
> flexibility required and so benefit is realized by mandating a strict
> specification.
> And the entire pan-European government procurement practice is heading
> towards mimicking what was done in Denmark:  total schema-centric
> adoption of a single structure for each of invoicing, ordering,
> catalogues and a dozen other document types.
> So I wouldn't agree with your "schema-centric design ... any situation
> ... is actively harmful".  It would only be so in a situation requiring
> arbitrary flexibility.

Simon St.Laurent

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