Streaming XML (Was RE: XML Information Set Requirements, W3C Note 18-February-1999)

Jonathan Borden jborden at
Fri Feb 26 02:03:04 GMT 1999

Steven R. Newcomb wrote:

> In property sets there are never any methods
> whatsoever.  This point is emphasized by the fact
> that, in the grove paradigm, the information
> components are called "nodes" rather than
> "objects".  If you choose to instantiate a grove
> as a collection of objects (as many reasonable
> people, including those at my own company,
> certainly would), that's OK, but the fundamental
> abstraction does not have the concept of methods.
... if any of the following statements
> are true:
> * the information may outlast existing processing
>   systems,
> * the information may have unforeseen uses in an
>   ever-changing world, and
> * the information must be interchanged in an open,
>   multivendor environment.
> Instead of encapsulating such information in
> methods, as objects often do, we need to
> encapsulate it in semantics, as XML can be used to
> do.  Having rendered the information as XML, and
> having chosen appropriate semantic-bearing tags
> and other attributes for its various components,
> we now have the information in a totally useless
> but highly interchangeable form that can become
> input to any application for any purpose,
> including unforeseen purposes.
	Well put. Several years ago, I thought that the ideal design for a
healthcare system was object oriented with strict interfaces between
components (nothing works together today without much to much time spent on
integration). More recently, I think that it is even more important that the
information (e.g. the lifetime medical record) be represented in an SGML/XML
format and that this be mandated. Your arguments reinforce these beliefs. It
was noted some days ago in a discussion in regard to databases that the
success of the relational database was the ability to formally describe the
system. Perhaps it the property set/grove formalism will serve the same
purpose for XML.

	The ability to apply declarative transformations (e.g. XSL) to 'grove like'
structures replaces much of the need to define algorithms (i.e. object
methods). My experience with programming is that the majority consists of
transforming data from the format returned from one API into a format
appropriate for another API, so this type of analysis is poised to save us
alot of work!

Jonathan Borden

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