When is an attribute an attribute?
cbullard at hiwaay.net
Wed Apr 8 01:41:51 BST 1998
Rich Koehler wrote:
> I've become fond of the method that Tim Bray used to distinguish between
> elements and attributes in his discussion of MCF
> (http://www.textuality.com/mcf/MCF-tutorial.html). He writes, "...when
> the property has a simple value like a string, we put that in the
> content of the element; when the property's value is another object, we
> put a pointer to it in an attribute value and leave the element
> decribing the property empty."
Neat! As others have pointed out, much depends not
on the abstraction of the modeling technique, but on
the method to be applied to the markup (ie, the application).
If I want a tracking system for the person,
the pointer techniques are good. If
I want to render a title or find all titles, then the
explicit element declaration is good.
BTW: All of this is why DTDs have worked well
for so many years. They are a contract between
implementors and systems.
The funniest thing I've seen lately is a statement
on the Microsoft XML site that XML gets rid of
committees who design DTDs in favor of a
more "organic" approach. Lots of luck. ;-)
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