Semantics (was Re: Inheritance in XML [^*])
ricko at allette.com.au
Fri Apr 24 05:54:38 BST 1998
From: Paul Prescod <papresco at technologist.com>
>Let me suggest this definition for semantic: a mapping from a syntactic
>feature to an abstraction.
I think people get confused between the "semantics" of the markup language
and the "semantics" of the element [type]s and attributes being marked-up.
I'll note the dictionary meaning of "semantic" as "relating to connotation
words". But in markup languages it has taken on a rather more specialized
meaning, unfortunately: "relating to the connotation of (particular)
of markup or their content".
When people say "XML is not semantic-free" they are using "semantics"
to include "the connotation of the delimiters" as well. Maybe it serves
everyone right for using jargon.
So I think this is what Tim is saying with:
>> I think that
>> "element", "element type", "notation", and so on are profoundly
>> *syntactic* constructs. I think an element is a piece of an XML
>> document that is bounded by tags;
They are "syntactic" in relation to the document being marked-up,
but they are "semantic" in relation to the XML spec. It is because
people make the transition between the two contexts that the
term "semantic" becomes confusing.
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