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Re: [xml-dev] [OT] Re: [xml-dev] Lessons learned from the XML experiment

>Michael says that XML *is* syntax, and I suppose this is meant in the historical sense. 

No, it's not a historical perspective. It's a perspective based on the supremacy of the specification. XML is what the spec says it is.

When someone on StackOverflow writes that they have an XML document like this:

<a>Barnes & Noble</a>

and the parser gives them an error, I tell them firmly that they don't have an XML document. It's not XML because the spec says it's not XML [1]. If you take the node view as primary, then you could start using language like "this is an XML document expressed in a different syntax". Fine, but we would quickly generate confusion and ambiguity about what is XML and what isn't. In ordinary discourse we often allow semantic drift in the way we use terminology, but in computing I think it's best to be very clear about what our technical terms mean, and when someone invents a term like "XML" and provides a definition, I think it's sloppy practice to use the term to mean something different.

[1] (OK, to be pedantic, it says it's not well-formed XML, and it doesn't acknowledge the existence of any other kind. I try to avoid the adjective "well-formed" because it doesn't change the meaning of the sentence.)

Michael Kay

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