A processing instruction for robots

Toby Speight Toby.Speight at streapadair.freeserve.co.uk
Fri Dec 3 17:45:10 GMT 1999

Walter> Walter Underwood <URL:mailto:wunder at infoseek.com>

0> In article < at corp.infoseek.com>,
0> Walter wrote:

Walter> At 12:09 PM 12/3/99 +0000, Toby Speight wrote:

>> It may be an idea to provide a NOTATION identifier for the
>> processing instruction, rather than binding it to the specific
>> word "robots".  It depends on the trade-off you want to make
>> between implementor convenience and author generality.  If
>> you've thought about it and decided against, it's probably
>> worth a comment in your proposal explaining your rationale.

Walter> Good point.  Since the target of the PI is "any robot that
Walter> cares", the notation would need to point to something other
Walter> than a particular robot, probably the spec.  That is a
Walter> namspace-like use of the notation.

That's exactly how I see it, too (though I don't want to use the
phrase "point to" as I consider myself strictly on the fence of the
great "Namespace As Locator" debate - "identify" may be a better

Walter> In that case, should the spec require that processors check
Walter> for the correct notation before interpreting the PI?

Not only that, you may choose to specify that a PI with that notation
should be honoured, *no matter what the local name is in the document*.
I don't think this would fly with the DPH, though.

Walter> I'm a bit wary of making things more complex.  The robot world
Walter> is the natural home of the Desparate Perl Hacker, so I'd like
Walter> the spec to be understandable in 30 seconds or less.

This is the argument against doing it the completely generalised,
indirect way (the SGML Way).  It may mean that you have to decide that
it's asking too much to expect the indexers to process PIs according
to their notations.

What I'm saying is that this has to be an informed decision, and the
spec should clearly report the alternatives considered - but I know
*I'm* not qualified to actually decide.


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