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Re: KISS again

From: Steven R. Newcomb <srn@techno.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 11:25:24 -0400
Message-Id: <199706231525.LAA01067@bruno.techno.com>
To: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
This is a correction to a statement made by Peter M-R that has as much
to do with SGML as XML.

> From: Peter@ursus.demon.co.uk (Peter Murray-Rust)
> ...
> 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.

Peter Murray-Rust would be correct to say that SGML *has not had* an a
mechanism for documenting the semantics of GIs, attribute names and
values, etc.  Thankfully, however, that is no longer the case.

The SGML Extended Facilities (Annex A of ISO/IEC 10744, 2nd edition)
provides mechanisms for stating rigorously (and electronically
retrievably) the semantics of DTDs, including both their intrinsic and
their emergent semantics.  The intrinsic semantics are attachable by
means of property location addresses used by hyperlinks.  Using a
proploc (or queryloc using SDQL) you can point at the element type
definition of a particular element type, an attribute definition of
that element, etc., perhaps making a hotspot at the DTD end, at the
semantic definition end, and perhaps also at each instance of the
element type.  The names of the properties of SGML documents,
including their DTDs, are standardized in the SGML Property Set found
in Clause 9 of DSSSL (ISO 10179) and in the 2nd edition of 10744.

If the properties of documents conforming to certain DTDs
(architectures) are "emergent" (i.e., they do not correspond in a
one-to-one manner with DTD-defined constructs), you can create a
property set for documents conforming to such architectures, and link
the document instance's instances of such emergent phenomena with
documentation that described them in an "architecture definition
document".  Again, a proploc (or queryloc using SDQL) can be used to
address (and link) to the constructs exhibiting such emergent
properties.  The standard property set for HyTime appears in Annex B
of ISO 10744 2nd Edition.

Best regards,


             Steven R. Newcomb   President
         voice +1 716 271 0796   TechnoTeacher, Inc.
           fax +1 716 271 0129   (courier: 23-2 Clover Park,
      Internet: srn@techno.com    Rochester NY 14618)
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    WWW: http://www.techno.com   Rochester, NY 14692-3795 USA
Received on Monday, 23 June 1997 13:49:20 EDT

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