Inheritance in XML [^*]

Jon Bosak Jon.Bosak at eng.Sun.COM
Fri Apr 24 00:07:18 BST 1998

[James Anderson:]

| much of the earlier parts of that posting [by Bosak], and most of this
| thread, are, on the other hand, disheartening. there are two issues:
| the claims regarding "semantics":
| the recommendation does, in deed, assert a semantic for xml documents.

Before I can say anything, my past history as a copy editor compels me
to state that there is no English noun "semantic."  Sorry, I just had
to point that out.

It's evident from the postings by James Anderson and Paul Prescod that
some people are taking the word "semantics" to mean something
different from what I was responding to in the mention of the magazine
article.  The people who complain that XML does not have clearly
defined semantics mean "semantics" the way I do -- as a synonym for
"meaning".  They are concerned that the meaning of a construction like


is not completely clear in the absence of a healthcare industry
standard like HL7 PID.  What I was saying is that the meaning of such
a construction taken by itself is not just unclear, it really isn't
there at all.

I'm not saying anything one way or the other about "semantics" in the
much more rarified sense used by some of the theorists in this thread.
I'm only trying to clear up a lot of confusion running rampant out
there among people who think that XML tag and attribute names have
inherent semantics in the ordinary sense of the word.  The theorists
here already understand this; it's those other people throwing the
word "semantics" around that I'm worried about.


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