[SML] Whether to support Attribute or not?

Sean McGrath digitome at iol.ie
Mon Nov 29 22:29:41 GMT 1999

>On Mon, 29 Nov 1999, Sean McGrath wrote:
>> The notion that elements are for information and
>> attributes is, IMO, bogus.
[Clark C. Evans]
>I'm sorry. I don't understand what is bogus here.
>Could you explain what you find so disturbing?
The notion that attributes are a fundamentally different
type of information is what I find disturbing. I mark up
a section of law like this:
<section n = "1">
This Act shall be know as ...

Now is the number 1 "about" the section? Yes. Is it
part of the content of the section? Yes. Is it somehow
intrinsically different from the text of the section?
I don't think so. To those who say attributes are
always meta-content I say this (with tongue in

	<element aboutelement="false"/>

>I'm not saying that this is a direct analogy, however,
>there are domains which attributes are very useful
>and mixing them with content seems very confusing.  

I agree they can be confusing to the human eye
but so too are CALS tables with all the end-tags!

Attributes are a form of markup minimization.
They are more pleasing to the eye in certain
situations. Easier to read and all that.

>In any case, if SML were to drop attributes, and not
>provide at least a non-recursive replacement, then
>I think the solutions using the "simpler" standard
>would be far more "complicated" than just using XML.
>And, once again, I'm not sure at all about recursive
>attributes... I'm just pointing out the possibility
>and thinking out loud.  Sorry if this makes you unhappy.
Apologies about the "harrupmph!" of the last posting.
Got a bit worked up. No offense intended.

<Sean uri="http://www.digitome.com/sean.html">
Developers Day co-Chair WWW9, April 2000, Amsterdam

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