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Re: 1.a: Use Elements?



At 6:39 AM 2/1/97, Digitome Ltd. wrote:
>>Should links be expressed as SGML elements?
There is a critical ambiguity in this question, which I point out in the
next post, but your interpretation is clear, so I can answer it first.

>Yes.
>
>I think the benefits in simplicity far outweigh the name-space pollution
>it entails. I cannot think of a single markup scheme that does not have
>name-space pollution. I do not know a single potential implementor
>who whould be bothered with a "Reserved Element Names" page in the spec.

I think the problem with reserved names is not for implementors -- they
only need to type in a table of reserved words -- but for users, who can
get unpredictable results if they don't know (or forget) that a keyword
they don't use is reserved.

Especially when users can define their own syntax, namespace pollution is a
user problem. Now PL/I solved this by letting people override syntactic
keywords. So if I defined a variable called "do" then the "do"-loop
(equivalent to "for" loops) was simply syntactically unavailable. This
seems also bad, though there's an argument for it.

Finally, if we pick really nice names we are inconveniencing people by
removing sensible names for document objects form their namespace, but if
we pick ugly names, then we are inconveniencing the users of the linking
features. Furthermore, if we reserve element names, even XML users who
don't use XHL will have to worry about processors misinterpreting
XHL-conflicting element names, unless we have a special turn-on signal for
XHL -- and if we _do_ have that, we might as well let people remap the
names while they're signalling the document's XHL-link-nature.

In summary, I don't think the arguments for element names save you very much.

>Admission of Guilt: I am an extremist (admitting defeat) on this point!

  Too soon, I think.

  -- David

I am not a number. I am an undefined character.
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David Durand              dgd@cs.bu.edu  \  david@dynamicDiagrams.com
Boston University Computer Science        \  Sr. Analyst
http://www.cs.bu.edu/students/grads/dgd/   \  Dynamic Diagrams
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