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WD-webarch-20031209: Self-descriptive markup considered improbable

From: C. M. Sperberg-McQueen <cmsmcq@acm.org>
Date: 05 Mar 2004 00:09:42 +0100
To: W3C TAG mailing list <public-webarch-comments@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1078441782.2531.7.camel@localhost>


The sample principle "self-descriptive markup" makes me nervous:
surely the TAG does not believe that XML (or any other system) is a
self-describing format in the sense that anyone looking at any
instance of the format will understand what is going on without having
to have recourse to any documentation?  Neither XML nor any other
format or notation matches this description.  Some formats are or can
be self-describing in that the notation can be used to describe the
notation: one can write a grammar in BNF for BNF itself, and one can
write a schema in XML to define the XML vocabulary for writing
schemas.  But such recursion is possible, surely, primarily for
notations which are intended to be used for defining notations.
Received on Thursday, 4 March 2004 18:10:33 UTC

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