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Re: [xml-dev] XML attributes are weird

On Sun, Dec 22, 2013 at 1:49 PM, Steve Newcomb <srn@coolheads.com> wrote:
> On 12/22/2013 05:59 AM, Alain Couthures wrote:
> ...
>> Yes, 'name' is a sort of mandatory attribute for elements. JSON doesn't
>> define any mandatory property for objects.
> ...
> JSON is fantastically useful.  I use it all the time, and more every
> day, it seems.
> But if I need a data/metadata distinction, JSON doesn't cut it.  XML is
> the interchange language of choice for that.
> The reverse is also true.  XML is not the best choice if its
> data/metadata distinction stands in the way of progress.
> IOW, I, like Simon, agree with Mike Kay when he says,
> "For a language designed for data interchange, the attribute/element
> split would be nonsense. But for a document markup language, it makes
> eminent sense."
> I think it *may* be useful to mention here that the HyTime term "GROVE"
> (officially, "Graph Representation of Property ValuEs", ugh) was
> intentionally meant to acknowledge that in the SGML parse tree (the
> "grove"), each element can sprout an extra tree.
> In a future, better world,
> * "metadata" will stop being a synonym for "especially underprivileged
> data".  IMO, there's no basis for believing that metadata doesn't
> deserve metametadata, etc.
> * metadata will have the privilege of rooting a robust hierarchy,
> instead of the stunted one offered by XML attributes.
> * no one will think that metadata are in any sense less important for
> effective data interchange than the data themselves.
> Viva la data/metadata distinction!

In many ways, this distinction is similar to the name/resource or
pointer/value distinction as each level of metadata is one more level

> (I can't help noticing that the White House evidently thought it
> wouldn't bother anybody if "just the metadata" of all the phone calls in
> the world were collected in secret.  That attitude reveals something
> about the widespread upside-down view of the data/metadata distinction.
>  Such a view is bound to die out.  The problem is basically that we're
> currently so used to the idea that metadata are underprivileged.)

(While I agree that the handling of the recent MITM scandals are
laughable, I believe the legal basis for this attitude is rooted in
the case Smith v. Maryland
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_v._Maryland> where the Supreme
Court found that transactional data (metadata) enjoys a lesser
expectation of privacy because it must be used in the business
processes of the carrier.)

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