XML & Postmodernism, was: Separation of formatting...

Jason R. Cupp jcupp at essc.psu.edu
Tue May 19 17:03:21 BST 1998

Gregg Reynolds wrote:
> Personally I've come around to a pragmatist position on this, after some
> time as a radical Free The Text purist.  It's just not possible to
> encode information without also encoding something about what we're
> supposed to do with it, any more than it's possible to draw a "real"
> line segment.  But we can certainly do some very useful things by
> trying.
> An interesting paper on a similar topic is at
> http://www.sil.org/sgml/ohco1.html, "Refining Our Notion of What Text
> Really Is:  The Problem of Overlapping Hierarchies."
> --

That's a great paper! Was/is there any attempt to address these issues
in XML? -- the idea that there is no unique logical privileged
perspective as it relates to the encoding of a text (or at least there
shouldn't be); that multiple hierarchical sub perspectives can exist
orthogonally within a non-hierarchical perspective. The work of any
parser would be to deconstruct whatever perspective he/she wished
(through a stylesheet perhaps). What immediately came to mind were

		, III

Where P2,P1 are sub perspectives of P. With a perspective aware parser,
this no longer becomes mixed content. If you follow the logic through
then there should really be no unique logical API for XML such as SAX or

Jason R. Cupp (jcupp at essc.psu.edu)
The Pennsylvania State University

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