Is XML 1.0 underspecified? (was: Re: CDATA by any other
simonstl at simonstl.com
Fri Oct 30 20:32:45 GMT 1998
At 01:58 PM 10/30/98 -0500, David Megginson wrote:
>Michael Kay writes:
> > This whole thread just reconfirms my view, stated a couple of weeks
> > ago, that the current spec is hopelessly informal and we need some
> > PhD student to sit down and produce a version in Z or something
> > similar.
>That's probably too harsh. I am actually quite fond of the XML 1.0
>REC, and believe that it has worked for the most part. There are
>certainly some examples of fuzzy thinking -- making the expansion of
>external entities optional is the worst example, stemming from a
>fundamental confusion between linking and storage -- but many people
>have managed to implement reasonably-interoperable XML tools quickly
>and easily using the REC in its current state. Some cleanup is
>required, but that's inevitable with a 1.0.
Abstraction and precision are delightful, but I'd really prefer to see the
W3C focus on the intelligibility of its specifications as well as their
precision. There seems to be a tendency in computing to write things as
unintelligibly as possible, culminating in specifications that affect an
enormous number of people who have no way to read them. While to a certain
extent that's the result of precise technical language, it doesn't seem
wise to write things so that even programmers and computer science devotees
have a hard time decoding them.
Has anyone looked at the CSS2 spec? (Or CSS1?) For some reason, those
specs are written in _English_, readable by a far larger number of people.
They even make sense. (Unless, of course, you want to read them in French,
German, or any other language.)
A lot of things could have been done differently with the XML 1.0 spec.
Hopefully, David's group's work at the W3C pinning down meanings for a lot
of the words we use from experience will help clear up some of these
issues, and I know the syntax group will contribute as well. At the same
time, I hope somebody in the WG (or the W3C) is making certain the specs
are readable as well as precise.
I make a good living translating the XML specs into reasonably clear
English, but I'd rather focus on what you can do with XML rather than what
exactly the specs are trying to say.
Dynamic HTML: A Primer / XML: A Primer
Cookies / Sharing Bandwidth (November)
Building XML Applications (December)
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