[SML] Whether to support Attribute or not?

Don Park donpark at docuverse.com
Tue Nov 30 13:04:13 GMT 1999

I don't think I have expressed my own opinion on this
issue so here it is:

1. Attributes are syntactic illusions.

They appear to be part of an element simply because
they are inside the brackets.  Child elements
are not and thus seem to represent containment.
This doesn't mean attributes are not useful however
since there are useful illusions, but they are
useful to people and not necessarily to machines.

Attributes are convenient in the same sense that
C is more convenient than assembly language.  Like
the 'for' loop, it is a shorthand for a common
usage pattern.

2. Attributes are double-edged swords.

After rather long discussions on the advantages and
disadvantages of attributes, I don't think there is
a need for me to explain this.

3. Attribute support is the key issue for SML.

While removing attributes opens up a new world of
possiblities, it also means SML users might have to
rebuild much of the stack of standards W3C and other
organizations have built because most of them uses

It is true that the rebuilding will proceed faster because
we will have existing work to start with.  What I do not
know is if there is sufficient will to do this.  S-XSLT is
reachable, S-DOM is also reachable.  What about beyond?

Ultimately, the question of attribute support in SML is
a loaded one.  If we do not support attributes, we face
a lot of work ahead and competition with XML.  If we do
support attributes, we might not be different enough from
XML to survive on its own.  Tough choice.

We must think on this.


Don Park    -   mailto:donpark at docuverse.com
Docuverse   -   http://www.docuverse.com

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