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What are Semantics? (Was: Serving generic XML)

From: <Svgdeveloper@aol.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2002 15:56:41 EDT
Message-ID: <197.bad1869.2a92a779@aol.com>
To: kynn@idyllmtn.com, www-tag@w3.org, www-style@w3.org
One of the interesting aspects (at least to me) of this discussion is the 
huge diversity of opinion about semantics. The differences in outlook emerge, 
in part, in the differences in terminology. For example,

In a message dated 19/08/2002 08:36:57 GMT Daylight Time, kynn@idyllmtn.com 

> It is not possible to "read" (understand) arbitrary XML without a
> stylesheet; it is (to the UA) a collection of tags without semantics.
> (This is different from the case of XHTML, which is not arbitrary
> XML.)

So, according to Kynn, generic XML has no semantics.

Interestingly, he views a stylesheet as supplying semantics.

Yet he claims that XHTML possesses "semantics".

But what are the characteristics of such "semantics"? Are these 
presentational pseudo-semantics only?

Other views appear to assume that there is "semantic markup" - presumably XML 
- which is "rich" in "semantics" and presentational markup. Interpreted in 
some ways a view that is diametrically opposed to Kynn's since he suggests 
that generic XML has "no" semantics.

Just as I was about to post this email, a post from Elliotte provided a scale 
on which XML had the "most" in terms of semantics.

It seems to me that we need to be clearer about terminology since two, 
seemingly intelligent, individuals interpret the semantic richness and 
poverty of XML in two diametrically opposed ways.

Andrew Watt
Received on Monday, 19 August 2002 15:57:37 UTC

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