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Re: producing the draft of XML Datatype spec

From: C M Sperberg-McQueen <cmsmcq@acm.org>
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 11:39:04 -0600
Message-Id: <199904021739.LAB355144@tigger.cc.uic.edu>
To: murray@muzmo.com
CC: Paul.V.Biron@kp.org, spec-prod@w3.org, elm@arbortext.com, Eduardo.Gutentag@Eng.Sun.COM, cmsmcq@acm.org
>Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 12:30:36 -0500
>From: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>

>At 10:18 AM 4/1/99 -0800, Biron,Paul V wrote:
>>So far I've only found one minor thing that I'd change and a few small pet
>>peeves.  As to the pet peeves, I think the content model of things like list
>>items should be mixed and the DTD requires paragraph-type block structures,
  ...
>>Its not really a big deal, but it is a personal pet peeve (see below).
>
>Things like this are design tradeoffs that have a very good motivation.
>In a lot of cases, the list items are only used to contain a single
>logical paragraph, as Paul has shown in his example. And, as Paul says,
>for those cases it seems preferable to be able to avoid having to use
>an extra layer of paragraph markup. However, some list items might
>contain more than one logical paragraph, or even a subordinate list.
>In that case, the need for extra layers of paragraph or paragraph-like
>markup is absolutely essential. Unfortunately, this means that the
>simple case is harder than it might otherwise be, but the more complex
>case is possible.

Absolutely right, and very important.

I once perpetrated a content model that attempted allow *both* a
simple form of the simple case, and a reasonable form of the more
complex case, by defining list items (in the TEI DTD) as

  ((%paraContent;) | (%m.chunk;)+)

This does make the simple case simple.  It also makes the more complex
case possible.  But it is responsible for more incomprehensible error
messages than any other single thing in the TEI DTD, and I now regard
it as an unmitigated disaster.

So while I understand Paul's note, I agree with Murray that in this
case the DTD is probably doing what it ought to be doing.  I believe
that in some tools, you can persuade the editor to open a paragraph
element whenever you open a list item; unfortunately not all tools
can manage that.

-C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
 Senior Research Programmer, University of Illinois at Chicago
 Editor, ACH/ACL/ALLC Text Encoding Initiative
Received on Friday, 2 April 1999 12:39:26 GMT

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