Serializations and data structures (was Re: Topic Maps on SQL)

Sean Mc Grath digitome at
Wed Nov 25 08:52:22 GMT 1998

>Tim Bray wrote:
>> You know, this goes straight to the core of a deep issue.  Where
>> I have often felt out of sync with the grove/property-set evangelists
>> is that I perceive syntax as fundamental and any particular
>> data model as ephemeral.  

[Paul Prescod]
>On the issue of what works and is interoperable in the real world, you are
>quite likely right, but on this "chicken and egg" issue of serialization
>vs. data model you are not. The serialization only exists to provide for
>the longevity of the data. Thus the data model is fundamental and the
>serialization ephemeral.
I think that is debatable. One could argue that the data model
is the Platonic ideal and the serialization is the real world
realization of that ideal. I guess it depends on what
school of Greek philosophy one favours:-)

>Your argument is that a sentence is more fundamental than an idea, because
>the sentence is easier to transmit, record, replay and otherwise
>manipulate. But *by definition* ideas are more fundamental than sentences,
>because there can only be a sentence after their is an idea, and in the
>XML-world, the idea can be reconstructed from the sentence losslessly and
>thus lives *at least as long as* the sentence.

I would argue that ideas cannot exist without syntax. An idea
pops into real world existence when it is transmitted from brain
to brain. That transmission requires syntax. Without syntax an
idea cannot escape a consiousness.

Case in point: how is the concept of a grove passed from
consiousness to consiousness without syntax?

[Lots of other interesting stuff elided]

if project.TimeAvailable() < project.TimeRequired():
	project.Langauge = "Python"

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