XML and embedded compound data types (was "Why XML data typin is hard")

Michael Kay M.H.Kay at eng.icl.co.uk
Mon Nov 30 18:54:35 GMT 1998

>In the case of a date or float, I would argue that they are both compound
>types and should be represented as such.

The popular human representations of dates and floats are compound, but the
intrinsic values are not. They are both points in a one-dimensional space,
the first being discrete and the second pseudo-continuous.

It is possible to choose representations of float and date that require no
parsing to extract, process, or render (localize) the value. I think there
is some merit in choosing a canonical XML representation of dates and floats
that is meaningful to a good proportion of people on the planet, but it is
more important that it is canonical.

In practice I would always recommend ISO 8601 representation for dates. This
is better than using a Julian day number because it is more meaningful to
humans. The parsing of this is so trivial that using XML tagging would not
add value, either for the human reader or the machine recipient.

Mike Kay

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