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Re: Optional features considered harmful

From: Len Bullard <cbullard@HiWAAY.net>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 1996 17:04:58 -0500
Message-ID: <326FE80A.5511@HiWAAY.net>
To: James Clark <jjc@jclark.com>
CC: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>, w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
James Clark wrote:
> At 06:54 24/10/96 +0000, Tim Bray wrote:
> >At 11:34 AM 24/10/96 +0000, James Clark wrote:
> >>At 23:57 23/10/96 +0000, Tim Bray wrote:
> >>>1. external text entities are a basic necessity for authoring ...
> >
> >>I would like to point that at least one person on the ERB (me) passionately
> >>believes that this viewpoint is totally misguided...
> >>... it is certainly possible to build a fine authoring
> >>environment without any use of external text entities.
> >
> >James is correct; it is certainly possible to do this.  But SGML provides
> >a built-in, standard, nonproprietary way to go about it.  The way I sell
> >SGML in the corporate world is:
> >
> >SGML gives you:
> > 1. a way to model the structure of your documents, and
> > 2. a way to control the authoring so they come out right, and
> > 3. a way to modularize documents for re-use and management, and
> >
> >It seems to me that if XML loses text entities, then #4 no longer applies
> >to #3.
> I think you can get 3 and 4 without external text entities by using
> transclusion via link semantics, which are going to be standardized in a
> later phase of XML.
> James

Agreed.  When explaining external text entities to new SGML users, 
they invariably leap to the conclusion these are hypertext links.
They are usually disappointed when I explain these are not.  They 
then ask, why the extra features.  We dropped these from the IADS 
and IDE/AS designs for precisely this reason:  we were getting 
this functionality from the hyperlinks.  Wouldn't an independent 
link with a semantic of <get> do this job?

len bullard
Received on Thursday, 24 October 1996 18:04:44 UTC

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