Sequence <was> Access Languages ...

Derek Denny-Brown ddb at
Tue Nov 25 00:22:59 GMT 1997

At 10:15 AM 11/25/97 +1100, Marcus Carr wrote:
>Derek Denny-Brown wrote:
>> It really depends on the requirements.  For data with a long expected
>> life-time, XML may actually be a better choice than comma/tab delimited
>> _because_ it is so verbose.  If the original architects choose tag names
>> are clear, then when someone approaches the data 10 years later, and the
>> original authors are long gone, the chance of this new-comer
understanding the
>> data format increases significantly.
>Or, if you would prefer, you could use shortref in SGML and parse the comma
>delimited files, making your input both a database dump and a valid SGML
>and your output valid XML.

But using shortref would defeat the whole point of helping the documents to
be "self-describing".  I agree that in some cases, SHORTREF is not a bad
idea, but I believe it should be sued sparingly. (Unless you are using it
as a trick to import existing data... in which case all rules are off)

> The point is, those of us coming to XML from SGML have
>experienced, grappled with, partially solved or lived with a lot of issues
>those from other backgrounds may regard as being imperatives. The current
>discussion is a natural result of diverse and intelligent opinions, but a
>enemy of moderation and controlled change. I hope XML is allowed to settle in
>before anyone tries to fix anything, as I doubt if anyone has clear and
>perspective from all sides of this very large baby.

There really is need of a good book, along the lines of of what Nelson
Minar was talking about when he refered to 
>I'm reminded of what happened in the first few months of 1994, when a
>lot of people suddenly learned HTML. One of the most useful documents
>(for me) of that period was Eric Tilton's essay "Composing Good HTML"
and the need for something with XML.  Such a task is much harder for XML
since XML can be used for many purposes.

I fail to understand how "the current discussion" is an "enemy of
moderation and controlled change".  Which current discussion?  In general,
there has been a very small amount of talk about the need for things to
change, and the significant comment (by Joe Lapp) to that effect, has
resulted in one of the better discussions on how an application architect
should plan to incorperate XML into their application, without "fixing" the
standard.  A number of good concise explanations of how to get the most of
XML, and what the parser should do vs. the application.

It is amazing how trying to teach someone what you think you know can help
you understand the material even better.  I am hoping that is true for a
group (XML-Dev) as well as for the individual...


     Derek E. Denny-Brown II      ||   ddb at
     "Reality is that which,      ||   Seattle, WA USA
  when you stop believing in it,  ||  WWW/SGML/HyTime/XML
 doesn't go away."  -- P. K. Dick || Java/Perl/Scheme/C/C++

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