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Re: SGML WG status

From: Digitome Ltd <digitome@iol.ie>
Date: Wed, 7 May 1997 12:37:20 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <199705071137.MAA27212@GPO.iol.ie>
To: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
[Jon Bosak]
><EXCURSUS>
>(a) I've been a bit annoyed at times over the past couple of weeks
>with the repeated assertions that the major implementors will ignore
>standards for error handling, so please indulge this brief outburst:
>IT'S THE MAJOR IMPLEMENTORS WHO ARE ASKING US TO DO THIS.  Got that?
>Good.

Well, all I can say is that if Microsoft are XML draconians then their XML
products
are going to be utterly culturally incompatible with everything else Microsoft
sell. Draconianism is *sooooo* not Microsofts style that I just cannot
believe it.
Obviously I am missing something fundamental. I am too heavily surrounded by
Wizard this, intellisense that, auto-the other....:-)

>(b) You can't specify standard error recovery without ipso facto
>making the recovery behavior an implicit extension to the language.
>If an application can recover from an omitted end tag, for example,
>then you have just made omitted end tags part of the language spec.

Hmmmm, I disagree. I would argue that there will be applications that will take
non-WF docs and produce WF docs according to a set of rules. Lint does that
for C programs. Lint's behaviour is not part of the C language spec.

[...]
>(c) Some people who understand the necessity for a compiler to refuse
>to produce an executable from broken code seem to think that it's
>perfectly OK for a document processor to pass over bad spots in a
>document and carry on.

I think we need to define "broken". Most compilers distinguish between
errors and 
warnings. The distinction between the two is quite fluid in general.
Microsoft's C++ class
browser generator for example can forge on in the face of "errors" that
their compiler will
rightly barf on. A "warning" in one app type can be an "error" in another.
It depends on the
app. Right?

>Maybe you have to be part of a group that
>produces support documentation for hardware and software that really,
>truly does run nuclear power stations and air traffic control systems
>to understand this, but take it from me that it is *not* acceptable
>for pieces of language to silently disappear from documents or appear
>in ways that could be misinterpreted by the user.

To my knowledge, no exponent of the tolerant position has suggested this.
I certainly have not. Us tolerants *want* errors to be reported. Us
tolerants see a vista of XML apps with varying requirements on the 
draconian <--> tolerant guage. I see XML browsers as right of centre
on that scale. Maybe Microsoft don't. Maybe they want a draconian
browser with a set of tolerant "XML Wizard" tools. Either way there
is a mix of draconian and tolerant apps involved here. Where is the line
drawn between XML app and non-XML app here?

Sean
Received on Thursday, 8 May 1997 08:01:24 UTC

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