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Re: ERB decisions on the LINKTYPE proposal



At 05:46 PM 01/03/97 +0100, Steve Pepper wrote:
>There remains the objection (brought to us second-hand by Tim) of
>"several members" of the ERB who "find the syntax [of the <!LINKTYPE
>technique], and the prospect of explaining it, repellent."
...
>Remember too, that most of the people we will be explaining this to will be
>those that already have a substantial body of SGML-encoded information that
>they want to deliver using XML. They will have no problem appreciating the
>aptness of the LINK-based solution (unless, of course, they too suffer from
>mindless LINKophobia).
...
>So please, members of the ERB: Present some well-founded counterarguments
>before rejecting this proposal out of hand.

Well, *I* was one of the people in the ERB unhappy with the
<!LINKTYPE proposal.  My reasons:

1. since you probably have an internal subset anyhow for entities,
   the proposal will require (by my count from Steve's example) 12
   extra syntax tokens.  XML already has too many.
2. these extra tokens are not mnemonic in the slightest and in
   my judgement will substantially increase the difficulty in explaining
   XML
3. In particular, the fact of the keyword LINKTYPE which is not in
   fact describing a link type is unfortunate
4. The fact that only about 17 people in the world understand LINK
   makes me want to steer clear of it
5. Steve contends that our primary audience is "those that already have 
   a substantial body of SGML-encoded information that they want to deliver 
   using XML. They will have no problem appreciating the aptness of the 
   LINK-based solution".  I disagree with both contentions: that our primary 
   audience is the existing SGML world, and that these people will like the 
   mechanism.  But this is just a subjective opinion.

Those were my reasons at the time; Dave Durand's points about namespaces
and related issues hadn't even dawned on me.

On the other hand, at the moment I suspect that <!LINKTYPE is the 
front-runner, *in the event* that WG8 can't give us multiple 
<!ATTLISTs.  If we get the <!ATTLIST fix [and ANSI is meeting this week, 
so expect news on progress or lack of it] then I think there is not 
really a need for the <!LINKTYPE technique.

One final point: Steve says "I do not suggest that this should be the *only*
mechanism allowed: Obviously, specifying the attributes in the document
and/or declaring them in the internal subset are suitable alternatives"

I have a problem with that.  In XML, we've gone to great lengths to
have, if at all possible, only one way to do common operations; which
seems in retrospect to have been helpful.

Cheers, Tim Bray
tbray@textuality.com http://www.textuality.com/ +1-604-708-9592