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Re: [xml-dev] Do you enjoy neighborhoods where every house looksthe same?

On 8/28/13 9:08 AM, Costello, Roger L. wrote:
> Infinite replication is lousy, especially if it's replication of
> something that doesn't fit anyone well.
> Forcing everyone to use the same XML vocabulary to describe different
> use cases is really bad.
> I suggest for your consideration the following approach to designing
> XML Schemas: create an XML Schema that contains a smorgasbord of
> well-defined, semantically-rich elements. Then, work with your users
> to create XML instances by picking and choosing elements that are
> meaningful to their specific needs.

This is a great place to start - certainly an improvement over too much 
existing practice.

The challenges go deeper, though.  Even that "smorgasbord of 
well-defined semantically rich elements" brings its own issues:

     Today's systems of housing production almost all rely, in one form 
or another, on standardized building components. These components may be 
very small (electrical boxes, for instance), or intermediate (2x4 
studs), or very large (precast concrete rooms); but regardless of their 
size, buildings are understood to be assembled out of these components. 
In this sense then, the actual construction phase of the housing 
production process has become an assembly phase: an occasion where 
prefabricated components are assembled, on site, to produce the complete 

     It has been little understood how vast the effect of this has been 
on housing: how enormous the degree of control achieved, 
unintentionally, by these components and the demands of their assembly. 
Yet, as anyone who has intimate knowledge of building knows, these 
components are merciless in their demands. They control the arrangement 
of details. They prohibit variation. They are inflexible with respect to 
ornament, or whimsy, or humor, or any little human touch a person might 
like to make."

     — Christopher Alexander, _The Production of Houses_, page 220.

Issues like these - which I think Ruskin describes differently as he 
dealt in his age more with standardized design than standardized parts - 
bring the "sameness" issues all the way down to the edges of the 
document tree.

Simon St.Laurent

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