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Re: KISS again

From: Rick Jelliffe <ricko@allette.com.au>
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 1997 14:39:38 +1000
Message-Id: <199706210456.OAA27251@jawa.chilli.net.au>
To: <w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org>
> From: Peter Murray-Rust <Peter@ursus.demon.co.uk>

> I suspect that most of the people on the WG - who are battle-
> hardened SGML professionals - have forgotten how hard it is to learn SGML.

On the contrary, I suspect that most battle-hardened SGML professionals think its so hard to learn SGML that the possibility of
SGML-like dialects would only make matters worse. 

<CONTROVERSY>
> Personally I believe that DTD validation will be a fairly small part of what 
> people will require from the validation process.  IMO a serious lack in SGML
> is any requirement to add any machine or textual semantics to the DTD.  There
> is no mechanism for extracting DTD information into processing code, no
> WEB-like (in the DEK sense) way of documenting it.  How do I find out what
> FOO actually means to a human?  How do you extract the human semantics from
> (say) HTML2.0 - it's in a completely separate document.  What most people
> will want is intimate linking of tags to semantic information.
> </CONTROVERSY>
 
Yes!  The WebSGML TC has a parameter called "Application Requirements", with the keyword "SEEALSO" followed by identifiers.   It
allows an SGML document to be decorated with locations of human-readership documentation about the semantics of the document, and
indeed, about any syntactical or semantic conventions used in the document in addition to SGML.

You can see this described in the draft WebSGML TC at
    http://www.ornl.gov/sgml/wg8/document/1929.htm
under  "Application Requirements".  Everyone on this WG should at least glance through it, I think.

SEEALSO allows you, for example, to document that in your element types declarations, there is a fixed link attribute giving the
location for documentation of the semantics of the element. (I.e. a dreaded Architectural Form).
<!ATTLIST elementX
  memymomemu CDATA #FIXED "http://www.me.com/dtd-doco.xml#elementX" >

These additional requirements are different from conventional comments, in that they are simple identifiers, which an application
can use to switch in any extra validity checks the vendor has cared to implement.

I hope people will support Application Requirements to their national standards representatives, and suggest any improvements.  For
example, they should be in the DOCTYPE declaration, not the SGML declaration, IMHO:
 
<!DOCTYPE cml SYSTEM
	SEEALSO 
		PUBLIC "IDN//W3C//NOTATION XML 1.0//EN"
		SYSTEM "http://www.me.com/xml-subset-used-by-cml.html"
		SYSTEM "http://www.me.com/cml-doco.html"
[...]>

I hope that XML will adopt this too.  Arjun is right: documents should be able to be labelled with everything needed to use them.  


Rick Jelliffe
Received on Saturday, 21 June 1997 01:26:21 EDT

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