RFC: Attributes and XML-RPC

Marcus Carr mrc at allette.com.au
Tue Sep 28 04:11:09 BST 1999

Mark Nutter wrote:

> Ok, but now how about this:  You're doing contract work for the government,
> and all of your documentation uses an attribute to indicate security level,
> e.g. <para security="ts"> for paragraphs classified as Top Secret.  All is
> well, and you have an entire application written that uses Processing
> Instructions that rely on having the security level defined by an attribute
> in the containing tag.  Now the government decides that "ts" (Top Secret)
> is no longer fine-grained enough -- there are a whole new set of "top
> secret" classifications: "ts-ce" (top secret, counter-espionage), ts-snp
> (top secret, security at nuclear power plants), ts-ch (top secret, computer
> "hacking"), and so on, and your paragraphs need to be tagged with all the
> security levels that apply.  You are working on a document that discusses
> security measures used to prevent foreign governments from hacking into
> computers at nuclear power plants.  What now?

Three things:

a)  what Ken Holman said about XPath (onya, Ken)

b)  I'm not advocating building applications that make that kind of use of
processing instructions, simply pointing out that I believe attributes provide
an additional degree of certainty

c)  the security status of the various fragments would typically require
content expertise, so I'd probably strip all of the attributes out and get the
expert to apply them only where they change, then "normalise" them
programmatically. I imagine that this is the same process you'd use for
elements, isn't it?


Marcus Carr                      email:  mrc at allette.com.au
Allette Systems (Australia)      www:    http://www.allette.com.au
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
       - Einstein

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