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Re: Comments and questions on the last call XML Schema working draft

From: Martin J. Duerst <duerst@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 16:00:13 +0900
Message-Id: <>
To: "Falk, Alexander" <falk@icon.at>, "'ht@cogsci.ed.ac.uk'" <ht@cogsci.ed.ac.uk>, xmlschema-dev@w3.org
Hello Alexander,

At 00/04/10 11:38 +0200, Falk, Alexander wrote:

>I was studying the new April 7 version of the XML Schema working draft 
>throughout the weekend, as we are in the process of finalizing the beta 3 
>version of XML Spy 3.0 (see 
>and I have a first list of comments and questions - especially regarding 
>the changes to the datatypes (part 2).

>3.2.3 - 3.2.5 Lexical notation of floating-point numbers
>While it is very nice from an implementors standpoint to know that all 
>sorts of float, double, or decimal numbers will only use the period as a 
>decimal separator, I wonder if this is really satisfying for many European 
>and other non-US users.

I already know that this is not exactly the right list for comments on the 
themselves, but I just want to make sure that people working on XML Schemas 
why this is most probably a bad idea. It is  very clear that it's not directly
satisfying for European and Asian users, but just adding the comma as
a decimal point separator would not solve the problem; some European
users would be satisfied, but some Asian users would still be unsatisfied,
with even less of a chance to get help.

The best solution is a clear separation between data representation
and presentation. In the case of numbers, the problem is that unless
you want to use binary representation, it's difficult to choose something
that isn't close to one specific representation.

>Specifically, when XML is being used to supplant existing systems, it is 
>often necessary to interpret floating-point or decimal number with other 
>decimal separators (most notably ',') and in some cases also including 
>thousands separators (e.g. 4,560,758.99 vs. 4.560.758,99).

Yes, you have to interpret these. But do you think it is possible to
interpret 45,678.98 unambiguously? It could both be 45 point 67898
as well as 45678 point 98. It is best to do the interpretation as
close to the source of the data as possible.

>Why is there no means provided to support these formatting styles in the 
>XML schema draft. Just like the encoding facet for binaries, this 
>"formatting" or "picture" facet (to use an old COBOL-coined term that was 
>also suggested in the DCD submission to the W3C in July 1998) could be 
>used to specify the various aspects of the lexical space of these 
>datatypes. If we were to consider XML schemas for B2B e-Commerce scenarios 
>only, it would be understandable to only allow one format that can be 
>easily processed - but XML schemas should be thought of in much broader terms.

I agree. But there should be a very clear distinction between
data representation and presentation. And presentation should work
for everybody, not just for the US and Europe.

So at the moment, I think it's better to have XML Schema
concentrate on data representation.

Regards,   Martin.
Received on Monday, 24 April 2000 02:56:45 UTC

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