XML and standards (was Re: Integrity in the Hands of the Client)

Mark Baker markb at iosphere.net
Mon Nov 24 18:38:32 GMT 1997

On Mon, 24 Nov 1997, Paul Prescod wrote:
> > What if that troff document contained a link to an implementation of a
> > troff formatter?  What if that implementation described its interface using
> > XML?
> What if it didn't? What if it described its interface using CORBA or
> some proprietary language that is more powerful than CORBA? You don't
> lose any flexibity or expressive power, you just have to write another
> parser for CORBA or your proprietary language. 

My point is that if it did, then no longer are clients responsible for 
interpreting the semantics of the data - a contained/referenced 
implementation is.

In comp doc frameworks, when a new stream of data is introduced into a 
container, the framework decides the type of the data and then attempts 
to find an editor based on that type.  The editor knows what to do with 
that data, and negotiates with the container for the real-estate for its 

For XML docs, the "type" doesn't have to be a DTD, though that might 
still be useful.  The "type" could just as easily be a tag (so a single 
document would contain many embedded types).

So if a well-formed document comes streaming into our container, the 
framework would start parsing it, come across a tag called 'troff', and 
then proceed to try and discover and install a chunk of code that knows 
how to parse/render troff.  Or the document could provide its own ref(s) 
(more likely for scalability purposes).  Either way, it's not the 
container (the client) that's responsible for interpreting the semantics 
of the data.  It's the document itself that is responsible.

> When you use XML to replace an existing standard, you are, for a period
> at least, actually working against open standards and promoting a
> proprietary alternative, even if it is expressed in the standard
> notation of SGML/XML.

In the example above, how might we implement that framework without 
assuming a data format?

Mark Baker, Ottawa Ontario CANADA.                Java, CORBA, XML, Beans
http://www.iosphere.net/~markb               distobj at acm.org  ICQ:5100069

   Will distribute business objects for food.

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