Optional features considered harmful
At 05:21 PM 23/10/96 -0700, Bill Smith wrote:
>I find the introduction of "optional features" in XML most unfortunate
Me too - I've been feeling bad ever since the vote. Maybe the WG can help
us out here. Where we got to on the ERB was:
1. external text entities are a basic necessity for authoring (I want to
validate my 700-page book without having to have it in a file) and
they're not even that hard to do [once you've limited the system
identifier repertoire, which we've done]. Arguably, without them,
XML is a delivery-only toy language
2. external text entities are big-time bad news for a browser -
particularly since browsers are moving in the direction of exposing
the document structure to client-side logic. And in fact the
jam-it-in-the-parse-tree semantic of text entities is not really
the kind of transclusion you want in a browser.
So what we REALLY WANT is to say "Here is a feature that is intended
for authoring and document management but look, boyo, don't you go
asking client programs to do this!" I had proposed a side-step by
saying you could only use <osfile> system identifiers for text
entities, but this kind of smells like a kludge.
Bob Streich had earlier spoken about server-mode vs. client-mode
XML; is this anything more than an option by another name?
I think I speak for the ERB when I say that we would welcome a way to
throw out the optional bathwater without losing the text entity baby,
and cheerfully reconsider the vote of the 23rd.
Cheers, Tim Bray
firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.textuality.com/ +1-604-488-1167