Response to Simon St.L. on Entities v. XLL

Peter Murray-Rust peter at
Sun Nov 30 22:48:03 GMT 1997

At 14:24 30/11/97 -0800, David G. Durand wrote:
>I don't understand why (if you are putting the information in the
>source document) you don't simply use NOTATION, which works very well
>with XLL without the need to invent your own private attribute convention.
>SGML entity declarations allow the association of a type with a
>destination in the source document. Untyped XLL links should only be
>used in cases (and they exist) where the HTTP MIME type information is
>preferable to static in-document declaraions.

I'm obviously missing something very fundamental here. If I have a document
foo.xml on my file system and it contains:

<FOO>Plugh! Y2?</FOO>

that's all. What sort of file is it? It is not self identifying. However
it's a legal XML file. Suppose I know that and I want to process it as XML,
I need to be able to tell software that it is XML. 

If we tell the software that it is of type "text/xml" this is understood by
millions of browsers over the world. If I refer to it by:


then I do not know any software in the world that will work out what the
file type is.  

My point is that browsers and mailers use MIME types. They don't use FPIs.
Unless the file includes its own MIME type, how do I find the MIME type of
a file using NOTATION, especially when the file is not on a server but on
local filestore? I can't see the objection to telling software what the
MIME type of a file is :-)


>  --
>David Durand                 dgd at| david at
>Boston University Computer Science        | Dynamic Diagrams
>  |
>                                          | MAPA: mapping for the WWW
Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
net connection
VSMS, Virtual Hyperglossary

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