[SML] Preliminary EBNF for SML
donpark at docuverse.com
Sat Nov 27 01:52:30 GMT 1999
>Name ::= NameStart (NameChar)*
>NameStart ::= [a-zA-Z] | '_' | ':'
>NameChar ::= NameStart | [0-9] | '.' | '-'
>Given all the work that's currently going on to
>internationalise the web (and computing in general)
>and remove historic English bias, is it really
>politically or culturally acceptable to restrict
>element names to the English alphabet? If SML is
>only for English you could restrict the character
>data to be ascii as well to save on processing utf8
>characters. If it isn't only for English then the
>above would presumably be one of many SML, SML-EN,
>and you would expect to see similar variants allowing
>element names in French or Russian, or Japanese?
Given that most of the popular programming languages
have similar limitations regarding identifier names,
I think the, so called, English bias is acceptable.
Furthermore, XML is supposed to be easily readable
by human eye. Question is, is it just the creator's
eye or anyone's eye. An XML document created by
Chinese engineers will not be very readable to English
engineers if names are in Chinese. This will make it
difficult for foreign companies to communicate with
Chinese e-commerce businesses.
The reverse is not true. I dare say that every engineer
in the world knows enough English to understand English
tag names and attributes names with the aid of readily
available dictionary. Ask any foreign engineers if they
use names in English or their own language when they name
C or C++ identifiers. Ask any foreign engineers if they
did not have some English training even before College.
Internationalization is also less of a problem than you
think. Translating English name to foreign words usually
results in a weird words. Just ask any foreigner with
foreign version of Windows if the menu commands made good
sense to them when they first started using it. The fact
is that when a person learns how to use computers in non-
English speaking countries, they have to learn a whole new
set of words consisting of old or uncommon words overloaded
with new meanings.
Also, we are going to have a big problem with schema
differences in the future and I would rather not have
foreign language variations of common tags like <name> and
<address> in the pot as well.
Don Park - mailto:donpark at docuverse.com
Docuverse - http://www.docuverse.com
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