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Re: Action item on syntax-based interoperability

From: Tyler Close <tyler@waterken.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 11:59:38 -0400
To: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1ACLOd-00024w-00@canteen>

On Tuesday 21 October 2003 21:26, Tim Bray wrote:
> Here it is:
> The Web is distinguished from many other information systems in that
> its important interfaces are defined, not in terms of APIs or data
> structures or object models, but in terms of syntax, by specifying the
> content and sequence of the messages interchanged.  It commonly occurs
> that programmers working with the Web write code directly to generate
> and parse these messages.  Even more unusually,  it is not uncommon for
> end-users to have direct exposure to these messages.  This leads to the
> well-known "view source" effect, whereby users gain expertise in the
> workings of the systems by direct exposure to the underlying protocols.
> The general success of Web software is evidence that interoperability
> in networked information systems is best achieved by specifying
> interfaces at the level of concrete syntax rather than abstract data
> models or APIs.

Is it really the absence of a data model that is the source of
success? I think it is the presence of a friendly, textual surface
syntax that is the source of success. If I'm wrong, then defining
a data model for XML, like XML Infoset, reduces the
interoperability of XML.

I think the message should be "Syntax is important", not "Data
models are bad". A system defined in terms of a data model
represented in a friendly, textual surface syntax, could have the
same interoperability properties as the WWW.

Received on Wednesday, 22 October 2003 12:24:02 UTC

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