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Re: [xml-dev] What are the practical, negative consequences ofthinking that attributes are metadata?

Charles Goldfarb once said to me that without attributes you don't have generalized markup. So my take is maybe the two questions 

What is XML good for?
What are attributes good for?

are both really the same question: what is generalized markup good for? 

What capability does being able annotate any field (element) with simple annotations give us? To take advantage of generalized markup, should we be much stricter in avoiding attributes for any 'field' data and use attributes only for 'annotation'? Do XML/DOM/Xpath really allow arbitrary annotation? Should we make our schemas open as far as foreign attibutes to avoid complexifying any annotation-based procesing? Is it really possible to gave generalized markup without structured attributes, or is one layer with references good enough? Would XML be better with extra delimiters to indicate 'is-a' 'has-a' 'belongs-to' 'part-of' elements and attributes?  Dont structured attributes take us back to JSON, where you have no special attributes/annotation?


On 19 Feb 2017 10:28, "Kurt Cagle" <kurt.cagle@gmail.com> wrote:
I'll echo the general sentiment that it matters more in documents than it does in encoding of data. 

For data, I typically use the convention that attributes are either for keys or key references, 

<employee id="emp110">
     <name>Jane Doe</name>
     <worksFor idref="emp111"/>
<employee id="emp111">
     <name>Graham Kerr</name>

This is mainly because this echoes RDF usage. 

<employee rdf:about="company:employee#emp110">
     <name>Jane Doe</name>
     <worksFor rdf:resource="company:employee#emp111"/>
<employee id="company:employee#emp111">
     <name>Graham Kerr</name>

You could also encode datatype, but this can be as readily expressed as schema.

Kurt Cagle
Founder, Semantical LLC

On Sat, Feb 18, 2017 at 3:10 PM, Peter Flynn <peter@silmaril.ie> wrote:
On 02/18/2017 06:33 PM, Ihe Onwuka wrote:
> I found this quote in an article by Bruce Johnson
> The single biggest tradeoff and architecture question you need to
> answer – do you want complexity in the data or in the usage.
> I agree with it. You do not get a free lunch by using a "simpler"
> data format unless your domain of concern is relatively trivial.

Actually I think your last sentence is even better. It phrases politely
what many of us might say more forcefully among ourselves.

> Which brings up a seldom mentioned point. JSON is a developer
> centric format. Who other than a developer would want to encourage a
> state of affairs that requires more and more functionality to
> manifest as application code

I think that's a little harsh — it reminds me of the old joke about
COBOL being the language of choice among programmers wanting to enhance
their long-term employment prospects. Which was funny in the late 1970s
but has now become embarrassing.

There are certainly developers mature enough to select a data format
that is appropriate for the task, and who are well aware of the balance
between complexity in the data format and complexity in the processing.

> On Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 2:38 PM, Ihe Onwuka <ihe.onwuka@gmail.com> wrote:

> Well XML vs JSON is an issue is because the JSON community see their
> ecosystem as replacing rather than co-existing alongside other
> ecosystems (XML in particular).

But the JSON community are programmers. XML _per se_ has nothing to do
with programming.

> On Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 8:32 AM, Rick Jelliffe <rjelliffe@allette.com.au> wrote:
> Here is kinda how I see it. How do others see it?
> *         |        Fields       |    Literature
> -----------------------------------------------
> Ephemeral | ie messages: JSON   |     HTML
> -----------------------------------------------
> Stored    | ie records: XML+XSD |     XML

But I now frequently find Stored/Fields using JSON.

> On Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 11:00 PM, Costello, Roger L. <costello@mitre.org> wrote:
> Isn’t XML necessarily about data, i.e., data-focused, data-centric?

Nope. Nothing whatever to do with it. XML is for text. Its use for data
is a great convenience in some circumstances, but that's not what it was
designed for.



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