Comments, parsers, XPointers

Paul Prescod papresco at
Sat May 23 06:53:52 BST 1998

Peter Murray-Rust wrote:
> Agreed. But I think we need it in the shorter term :-) Over the last day
> Eliot Kimber has spent a lot of time (thanks :-) helping to clear up some
> of my ideas about addressing and linking. (I have been much concerned about
> how to build software that is unambiguous). I believe I'm quoting Eliot
> correctly in saying that it is impossible to implement Xpointer rigorously
> until we agree on the abstract model of an XML document. I suspect we
> don't, all, yet...

I think that Eliot understands this better than most people, and it's a
lesson I'm glad I didn't have to learn for myself. HyTime was mostly
rewritten from scratch between versions 1 and 2 because without the
formalism underlying the markup (the "low-level semantics"), the first
version was built on a base of sand. By the time DSSSL and HyTime 2 came
around, the sand was starting to crumble, and the grove is the concrete
basis that the new family of standards used.

I really hope that we can get concensus on this issue so that the W3C will
move quickly on it, before the Web standards follow the same path and must
all be rewritten (and unified) for version 2.0. I personally believe that
this should be a higher priority than XSL, the DOM or anything else.
What's the use in rushing to build an apartment subdivision before laying
the foundation?

Paul Prescod  -

"A writer is also a citizen, a political animal, whether he likes it or 
not. But I do not accept that a writer has a greater obligation 
to society than a musician or a mason or a teacher. Everyone has
a citizen's commitment."  - Wole Soyinka, Africa's first Nobel Laureate

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