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Re: [xml-dev] provocations and realities (was Re: Fwd: [xml-dev]Not using mixed content? Then don't use XML)

On Mon, 2013-04-08 at 11:28 -0400, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
> On 4/8/13 11:11 AM, Fraser Goffin forwarded:
> >     Simon is being argumentative and provocative in order to elicit
> >     responses, and, whilst there's a grain of truth in what he says, it's
> >     far from the whole story. :-)
> Liam, you know me.  If I wanted to be provocative, I'd be saying 
> something like "If this [RDF-tastic pile] is an improvement to XML, then 
> I am a dandelion."

I do indeed know you (and note that Frank forwarded an off-list message;
I don't think it's productive to characterize arguments that way in
public because they stop working). But you are still taking a strong
rhetorical position :-)

Places where we agree re. schemas:

* they can be misapplied

* they can be used as a crutch to avoid thinking about situations (more
than my job's worth to let you park there sir)

* they can stifle design

But these things are true of any set of guidelines, rules, best
practices, laws, legislation...

> At least I'm getting a gentler reaction than Walter Perry used to get, 
> though it may just be that I'm offering a milder line.

I always felt his arguments were not about schemas per se but about
specific vocabularies, and remember well that Michael Sperberg-McQueen,
after Walter had said the markup language doesn't matter because the
data itself is sufficient, refuted him in German. Or something
sufficiently German-sounding to fool me.

He said in private conversation afterwards the the primary documents
with which he was dealing contained only a few items - I think price,
quantity, stock ticker symbol, buyer, seller, date/time. In almost all
cases the lexical forms would be sufficiently distinctive that there
would be no confusion, especially with ticker symbol/price redundancy.

But there are other use cases for which that's not the case, of course.

> (For those who have forgotten Walter's talks or arrived after he had 
> moved on, http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/05/29/perry.html is a good place 
> to start.  For those who want deeper background on what is driving me to 
> write these things now, see <http://www.amazon.com/dp/0199898073/> or 
> <http://www.amazon.com/dp/0195032233/>.)

We also agree that Christopher Alexander is worth reading. I should very
much like to get to this book but it won't be until after the
Restoration of the House.


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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