W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > May 2005

RE: About XHTML 2.0

From: Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@x-port.net>
Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 09:43:21 +0100
Message-ID: <6D5F1102-7CB9-4A76-828C-8B800E480B18@S009>
To: "'Sebastian Redl'" <sebastian.redl@getdesigned.at>, <www-html@w3.org>


> >But did I say that A and B have a parent of Y? I didn't. Did 
> I say that 
> >A and B were in the same 'group' as each other? I certainly 
> didn't do that.
> >Did I say that A and B are in a different group to C? No. In 
> fact the 
> >only thing I said was that I want a separator -- I didn't 
> even say what 
> >I want to separate. Everything else is a layer of semantics that you 
> >are trying to impose on my document that I did not imply.
> >  
> >
> Actually, yes, you implied all these things. By separating C 
> from A and B, you implied that A and B are one group, and C 
> is another. Why else would they be separated? By using XML, 
> you've implied that every group has a containing element. 
> Kicking and screaming? Perhaps, but that's how XML works.

Mmm...and perhaps not. I think the fact that you can only see 'hierarchy'
has actually proved my point. XML is a tree-based mark-up language -- full
points for that Sebastian. However, that doesn't mean all data is
hierarchical. As they say in the Eurovision Song Contest, "null point" for
that I'm afraid.

XML is used to represent vector graphics, metadata, UI forms, chemical
mark-up, and more. The *form* that these mark-up languages take is
hierarchical because it aids parsing. But the *content* of these languages
-- i.e., the actual *meaning* that these languages represent -- is not
always hierarchical. It reminds me of a long-running argument I had with a
colleague who believed that every single application could be organised
around a tree-view on the left of the display -- sure, you can make a hell
of lot of information *appear* to be hierarchical, but that doesn't mean it

> If 
> you don't like it, perhaps you shouldn't use a tree-based 
> mark-up language.

It's not that I don't like it, it's that you don't understand it. I can use
a hierarchical language to represent non-hierarchical data. However, because
you can't see that, you feel that *only* hierarchical data should be
represented, and worse, you want to forbid any alternatives.

> >It's a cliché indeed, but it does seem to me to be a case of 
> "when you 
> >have a new hammer belt, you tend to carry your hammer around 
> with you all day".
> >  
> >
> I thought it was, "when you have a hammer, everything looks 
> like a nail."

OK. I think I'm now seeing your point -- you're saying that you were unable
to spot the irony because I hadn't grouped my statements under a parent
element called "irony"?



Mark Birbeck
x-port.net Ltd.

e: Mark.Birbeck@x-port.net
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Received on Tuesday, 24 May 2005 08:43:45 UTC

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