XML standards coherency and so forth

Rick Jelliffe ricko at allette.com.au
Tue Jan 12 02:06:21 GMT 1999

From: Jeffrey E. Sussna <jes at kuantech.com>

> XML is a data representation language.

Well, XML is really a data *labelling* language (i.e. markup). By taking
care of syntax, it exposes the difficult problem: how to go from mere
labels to specific representation.

> Why not start with a common representation for that content, then let
the apps expose
> different sets of operations on top of it? I think such an approach
would go a long way
> towards adding coherency between the various specs under development.

I think you are right: apart from RDF in its limited domain, there is no
movement in XML/SGML similar to the "pattern movement" in OO
programming: a movement trying to extract the fundamental structural
patterns in markup which can be used in any application.

Architectural forms and namespaces give mechanisms for making it easier
to use this approach, but they have not found archetypes. My book (XML &
SGML Cookbook) is the only attempt I know to move towards a
pattern-based way of marking up documents; Dave Megginson's "Structuring
XML Documents" has a tacet awareness of the possibility of patterns too.

Rick Jelliffe

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