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Re: [xml-dev] RE: Make implicit structures explicit


On Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 6:45 PM, Michael Sokolov
<msokolov@safaribooksonline.com> wrote:
> The numbering is helpful, I think, for readability, but only if they are
> always kept in order, ie redundant.  Imagine you had 1000 steps instead of
> 3.  You would like to have numbers then, if you are scanning the document,
> to get some idea where you are.  Also suppose the document became so large
> that it was too unwieldy for some technology or human to handle, and you
> needed to break it into many smaller subsequences in separate documents.
> Then the numbers would help you to reassemble it.

Yes. Another use of redundancy is that when things go out of whack,
there is a chance of detecting the discrepancy, so it can be
investigated and resolved. (Or a policy can be enforced that one of
the representations always prevails, in which case there is no longer
a redundancy, only a potential for confusion as soon as the policy is
ignored, neglected or forgotten.)

Note however that resolving such a mismatch is typically not an
operation that can be performed entirely by machine. Determining which
of two conflicting representations is correct requires, if not a
blanket policy (in which case, see above), then an examination of each

HTML gives us this:


Roger's question teases me to respond, why shouldn't it be this:


I don't think there's a simple answer to this question. The redundancy
in the second case does offer theoretical advantages for some
theoretical use cases.

The parsimonious use of redundancy (the parsimonious abrogation of
parsimony?) is something of an art, I think.

But no, it is not better for all information to be explicit. It is not
even possible.

Cheers, Wendell

Wendell Piez | http://www.wendellpiez.com
XML | XSLT | electronic publishing
Eat Your Vegetables

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