W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > February 2002

RE: XML-SW, a thought experiment

From: David Orchard <david.orchard@bea.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 22:01:12 -0800
To: "'www-tag'" <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000301c1af9c$dade5f50$6b0ba8c0@beasys.com>

This is really great stuff.  While I think that PIs should also be lopped
off, and XInclude for entity replacement and an optional XML Schema
validation level added, I can certainly live with this.

As I suspected - and you did the work to prove it - joining the specs
together actually makes for a very readable spec.

I'll take a stand, which is the same stand I took when I suggested something
like this in december, "it's a good thing".


> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-tag-request@w3.org
> [mailto:www-tag-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of
> Tim Bray
> Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 8:43 PM
> To: www-tag
> Subject: XML-SW, a thought experiment
> A discussion on www-tag starting at
>    http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2002Jan/0019
> developed into some interesting discourse on what a next rev of XML
> might look like.  Following on this, a thought experiment
> named XML-SW appears at
>    http://www.textuality.com/xml/xmlSW.html
>   XML-SW =  XML 1.0 2nd ed.
>           - DTDs (and therefore entities)
>           + namespaces
>           + xml:base
>           + the infoset.
> Pulling it together took maybe a day all told, mostly sitting
> in airplanes.  It was immensely enjoyable, and from a purely
> rhetorical/tutorial/stylistic point of view, I think XML-SW
> works better than most of its component parts (with the possible
> exception of xml:base, a remarkably graceful piece of work).
> Among other things:
> All the endless circumlocutions around parameter entities: gone.
> "For interoperability": gone.  The attribute value normalization
> and line-end handling migrate into the infoset, where they belong.
> xml:base goes with xml:lang and xml:space into a section about
> reserved attributes.  Namespaces go into the discussion of
> elements and attributes, where they belong.  "standalone=": gone.
> There's a nice "other markup" section for comments, PIs, and
> a vestigial doctype declaration.  The vestigial doctype is defined
> purely syntactically and has no internal subset - a low-cost
> way to let
> people do DTD validation with XML 1.0 processors.  The conformance
> section has real content, including the error-handling, which has
> migrated out of its awkward home in the definitions list.  All the
> links out of infoset and namespaces are internal.
> There are a million stylistic cleanups, ranging from bookkeeping -
> all example URIs are from example.com - to the excision of rhetorical
> tumors - there is no discussion of the relationship of namespaces
> to sets.
> Aside from the massive change in losing DTDs & entities, I hope
> there are no other normative or semantic changes between XML-SW
> and the specs that went into it.  If there are, that's a bug.
> The temptation to introduce JUST A FEW little obvious improvements
> that nobody could possibly disagree with is overwhelming,
> but that is a slippery slope leading into the most noisome of
> ratholes.  Put another way, data and software that conform
> to XML-SW, aside from the difficult question of what goes in
> <?xml version="?", should in all respects conform to all the W3C
> recommendations that went into it.
> One or two people have favored me with feedback and suggestions;
> they have my thanks but I won't mention their names here, as nobody so
> far - not even me - has taken the stand that this is a good idea.
> Unfinished work:
> - roll in the improved character and name definitions from Blueberry.
> - link-check; there are almost certainly a few broken links
> - Turn XML-SW into an XML-SW document; currently it has an internal
>    subset and the XSLT formatter relies on ID attributes.
> Then again, the
>    first few drafts of the XML spec were actually SGML.
> -Tim
Received on Thursday, 7 February 2002 01:05:31 UTC

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