A Plea for Schemas

Len Bullard cbullard at hiwaay.net
Wed Nov 3 00:37:29 GMT 1999

Matthew Gertner wrote:

> Really interesting stuff. When I first sat down and wrote the
> introduction it was about 10 times longer and contained some of this
> information, but it didn't seem especially relevant in the context of
> pleaing for schemas, so I pared it down to the point where it is mostly
> just a bunch of plausible-sounding lies. 

It's a Jones of mine.  Plausible lies, the speed with 
which the World Wide Web distributes them and the 
tendancy of the press and the similarly ignoble 
readers of these lists to believe that nothing without 
a URL is worth checking, make the WWW do precisely what 
it was not designed to do:  devolve knowledge.   In 
about a hundred years, they will burn the W3C founders 
in effigy on the lawns at was once the hallowed 
halls of MIT, but will then be a museum for the 
slow and largely irrelevant who can't master 
surfing in virtual hypercube.  They won't burn 
them for malice; they will do it for pleasure 
because burning their heritage has been equated 
with good memory management. 

While it is a lot like a monkey putting the 
plug back into the elephant, I am learning to 
accept being tied to the elephant's tail. I will 
never learn to like it.

Hmm... this humor thing might be worth learning... nah.

> Ouch. Whatever happened to poetic license? I thought "a hobbled subset
> of SGML" sounded snappier than "an SGML application specifying a
> vocabulary for the transfer and display of hypertext documents". The
> latter would also have detracted from the humorous value of the
> paragraph, of which there is hopefully at least some.

See above.  The problem is, they quote you and when 
they do that often enough, the universe gets a little 

> > Tell 'em, "ahh, XML Works.  We just don't agree on how."
> Seems like a healthy state of affairs. If we keep churning the idea
> bucket the One True Way will eventually become obvious.

No one true way;  just a bag of tools and maps with lots 
of roads to the same place.  Look at DTDs as 
view dimensions and aggregate them using OLAP tools. 
Then decide where you want to go.  That's one approach.

A DTD is the backside of a stored query.  :-)


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