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Re: [xml-dev] seduced by markup

On Sat, Nov 16, 2013 at 3:48 PM, Steve Newcomb <srn@coolheads.com> wrote:

By the same token, consider two scenarios: You're in a room with 4
experienced programmers and 4 domain experts.  Let's say they're experts
in healthcare, since that's so topical these days.  They know about
medicine and/or insurance, but not much about IT.  Now, everybody has to
work together and come to an important agreement.  You're the facilitator.

Scenario 1:  You put RNG syntax on the table.  The programmers grin
smugly.  They feel perfectly comfortable.  The healthcare experts
grimace and stir uneasily.

Scenario 2: You put DTD syntax on the table.  Everybody stirs uneasily.
 What's this bizarre nonsense?

So the advantage of DTDs is that they are gibberish to all?  If that were really an advantage, introductions to opera would *start* with _Woyzeck_, since its use advantages nobody.  The danger, of course, is that it would alienate everybody.

Now if one has a good enough teacher, this probably won't happen.  But in the real world where Steve Newcombs are not numerous, most people have to teach themselves.  In that world, something simple and reasonably boundaryless has real advantages.

In my experience, people are *shocked* when they eventually come across one of RNG's semantic restrictions, because until they try to put an element (or text) on both sides of an & connector, or combine simple and complex content other than by choice, they have *never* been able to express anything with the syntax that doesn't Just Work with the semantics.  Then they come to someone like me, who explains to them that while RNG is a magnificent achievement, it is not entirely perfect.

(Aside: As a matter of common practice, the world's largest SGML
application, HTML, has long since de-facto vacated the restriction to
which you refer [viz. id syntax].

Only by ceasing to be an SGML application.
W3C also crippled DTD syntax in another important way, once again
unnecessarily, by disallowing parameter entities in DTDs that are
included directly, verbatim, in XML documents.

They aren't disallowed, just restricted.
They're still OK in remote DTDs.

However, there is no guarantee that they work.

GMail doesn't have rotating .sigs, but you can see mine at http://www.ccil.org/~cowan/signatures

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