RFC: Attributes and XML-RPC

Mark Nutter mnutter at fore.com
Wed Sep 22 17:31:33 BST 1999

At 03:53 PM 09/22/99 +0100, Leigh Dodds wrote:
>For example, if you have a genealogy DTD, and you're
> > representing things like:
> >
> > Biological father
> > Biological mother
> > Location where birth certificate is recorded
> > Place of birth
> > Date of birth
>I believe by metadata the original author meant information which should
>be used as processing instructions or hints to the application processing
>the document. I'd say that none of the items you list fall into that
>category so they're content.

That's certainly a valid point of view, but consider:

<record_of_birth src="Penobscot County Courthouse, ME">

In the above, the location where the birth certificate is stored is given 
as an attribute of a <record_of_birth> element, so it's ostensibly 
"metadata".  Yet, depending on the application that's processing the 
information, the location of the physical birth record might very well be 
content.  Attributes might make sense for a DTD that was intentionally tied 
(restricted?) to a predefined process, but isn't part of the strength of 
XML supposed to be that the same XML file can be processed in more than one 
way?  Attributes seem to "fossilize" one particular perspective of the 
data, at the expense of alternative ways of looking at the information.


Mark Nutter, <mnutter at fore.com>
Internet Applications Developer
FORE Systems
Some people are atheists 'til the day they die.

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