SAX and delayed entity loading

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at
Thu Dec 3 19:59:59 GMT 1998

At 01:31 PM 12/3/98 -0600, W. Eliot Kimber wrote:
>>Maybe genuinely extensible viewing _software_ will get us past this
>>thicket, but I don't think notations have any inherent advantages over MIME
>>types beyond their being a superset, allowing them to reference even more
>>lose-able resources.
>But it's not just about *viewing*, it's about processing of all sorts.
>Pulling down a plug-in for viewing a particular kind of data is only one
>small application of notations.  If you are only thinking about the problem
>in terms of viewing things on the Web, then you are missing the point.

Viewing isn't everything, certainly.  Processing of all kinds should be
equally extensible.  But if I can't open your documents and process them
because you used notations referencing things I can't get to, I might just
as well turn off the computer so I don't have to look at it, right?

On the other hand, if those things were self-identifying, using a publicly
documented and readily available system, I might get to see something
useful - whether it's a picture on my screen or the lights in my house
dimming at the right time or my toaster making my toast come out just right.  

Worse yet, if your document about dimming the lights comes up as 'burn the
toast' in my system because our notation registries were very different,
I'm going to be very unhappy.  (I like burned toast, but there are limits...)

If you don't care about being able to exchange documents readily between
applications and systems, why bother with SGML or XML?  I suppose it's no
worse than any other format, but it really does leave me wondering. 

Public registries and self-identifying documents seem like the only out of
this mess to me, but so far that hasn't gone nearly far enough.

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer / Cookies
Sharing Bandwidth (December)
Building XML Applications (January)

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