Musing on the philosophy of FPIs
In a private note to Lee, I came up with a way of explaining it that I'd
never used before. FPIs are like SGML in that they are a late-binding
mechanism with undefined semantics.
We use tags because we may need to process the same document many times
and tags help us to late-bind processing to document features. We name the
tags because there are fuzzy human-level semantics associated with those
textual phenomena that can't be formally described.
We use FPIs because we may need to resolve names differently as we
re-use the names items on many different systems. We require certain
well-defined semantics -- uniqueness, arbitrary lifetime without name
reassignment (persistence) -- and late-bind the resolution mechanism for
those names at processing times. We give them human0-intepretable names
because that helps humans to assign and manipulate them, and we know that
this manipulation is not likely to be fully automatic any time soon.
I don't know if this helps to make the positions clearer -- it helped me
to think about the different problems together, though.
I am not a number. I am an undefined character.
David Durand email@example.com \ david@dynamicDiagrams.com
Boston University Computer Science \ Sr. Analyst
http://www.cs.bu.edu/students/grads/dgd/ \ Dynamic Diagrams
MAPA: mapping for the WWW \__________________________