xml style questions

Deborah Aleyne Lapeyre dalapeyre at mulberrytech.com
Mon Mar 1 23:47:28 GMT 1999

Mark Anderson wrote:
>any words of wisdom regarding:
>1) having an extra collection layer in the xml tree, like

If you have ANY reason to think you may need the collection layer,
put it in.  Reasons you might want it include things like:

  a) Reuse - <thing>s are frequently used together
     and you want electronic cut-and-paste and/or
     even a really stupid parsing algorithm to be
     able to find them all easily.

     The converse is the same, if you want to ignore
     all <thing>s, group them.

  b) You need some sort of behavior or formatting
     at the collection level.  This could be as simple
     as wanting a new indent level in the
     generated toc.  This is the most
     common reason in practice.

  c) For correct hierarchical layering, <thing>s
     just aren't as big and important as <another>s
     so they don't belong at the same level.

etc.  Yes, much of this could also be done by asking
if you are the first <thing> among your siblings, etc.
But sometimes event-driven processing is easier or faster
than tree walking, and a containing element gives you
your event.

>2) having PCDATA vs. having a distinct "comment" or "description" element
><thing a="1" b="2">this is the description of this thing
><thing a="1" b="2"><desc>this is the description of this thing</desc>

As a style issue, I favor the explicit description.  Makes programming life
easier all around, costs next to nothing.  Programs can easily find the two
equivalent, but, in my experience, people don't.


Deborah Aleyne Lapeyre               mailto:dalapeyre at mulberrytech.com
Mulberry Technologies, Inc.                http://www.mulberrytech.com
17 West Jefferson Street                    Direct Phone: 301/315-9633
Suite 207                                          Phone: 301/315-9631
Rockville, MD  20850                                 Fax: 301/315-8285
  Mulberry Technologies: A Consultancy Specializing in SGML and XML

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