XML Information Set Requirements, W3C Note 18-February-1999

John Cowan cowan at locke.ccil.org
Fri Feb 19 19:52:53 GMT 1999

Jeffrey E. Sussna wrote:

> I would like to encourage the XML community to [...] not get bogged
> down by the historical baggage of the M in XML.

You mean "Mosher"?  :-)

(For the historically challenged, the "GML" in "SGML" originally
stood for Goldfarb, Mosher, and Lorie.)

Actually, the "data" vs. "document" dichotomy has been there since
the beginning.  Goldfarb himself has said:

# [M]y chief motivation was information retrieval, not
# typesetting.

On a more serious note, however, the notion of an "information set"
has to do with what information is present in the document/data object,
rather than how it is retrieved.  The purpose of the Infoset WG is
to define what an XML processor must, should, and may tell an
application, not to specify the means it uses for doing so.

A tree-based API like DOM informs its client of the child->parent
relationship by an explicit API call.  A stream-based interface
like SAX does the same implicitly by the order of "startElement"
and "endElement" events.  Both provide the information.

John Cowan	http://www.ccil.org/~cowan		cowan at ccil.org
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

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