an unfilled need

Sean Mc Grath digitome at
Thu Sep 9 16:24:56 BST 1999

>Sean Mc Grath wrote:
>> <Package>
>>  <program language="Python">
>>   Bank.Debit ( (bllrp.zata * rte.w )/ GoldenRatio )
>>  </program>
>> <data>
>>  <bllrp zata="-1">
>>   <poiuk>112</poiuk>
>>   <pppzzz>g</pppzzz>
>>   <ttt>xxx<rte w="3"/></ttt>
>>   </bllrp>
>>  </data>
>> </Package>
>> This approach will get you there a lot faster than
>> waiting for the "bank debit golden ratio rte interest group"
>> to finalize their declarative syntax for what the bllrp
>> element really means...
[Paul Prescod]
>All you've done is shifted the problem from document type design to API
>design. Now you need the "bank debit golden ration rte interest group"
>to standardize their Bank objects and Debit methods.

But this only becomes an issue whenever there is
a need to interface between disparate systems. Of course you
need standards at that point -- be they APIs or Data Notations.

Here is the point I was trying to make. If the algorithm to
manipulate the data is downloaded *with* the data,
then the browser meeds no apriori knowledge about
the semantics of the data other than "Oh, here comes a package
of stuff that has an algorithm part and a data structure part.
Execute the algorithm part and hand it the data part to work

Moreover, as an application developer I can do what I like
with the package of data. I can attach any semantics I like
to it. JavaScript is a case in point. Leaving aside any
dislike for the language or the data model exposed to the
language, it illustrates the "arbitrary semantics" point

Case in point: There is no industry standard markup language
for creating a collapsible table of contents in a Web page.
There is a very nice one running on the Isogen site
( written in JavaScript.

Isogen did not have to wait for the W3C or Microsoft
on Netscape or some committee to quabble endlessly over
the markup language necessary to encode the semantics
of a collapsible toc.

>And anyhow, why bother with XML then?

XML gives me a beautifully simply, open systems, way
of expressing a hierarchical data structure. Why would
I throw that away?

<Sean URI="">
Developers Day Co-Chair, 9th International World Wide Web Conference
16-19, May, 2000, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev at
Archived as: and on CD-ROM/ISBN 981-02-3594-1
To (un)subscribe, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
(un)subscribe xml-dev
To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
subscribe xml-dev-digest
List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa at

More information about the Xml-dev mailing list