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Re: XML for beginners

From: Peter Flynn <pflynn@curia.ucc.ie>
Date: 27 Jan 1997 23:26:37 +0000 (GMT)
To: w3c-sgml-wg@www10.w3.org
Message-id: <199701272326.XAA13056@curia.ucc.ie>
   particular interest in the success of XML. (I'm a scientist rather than a 
   computer scientist so please forgive inaccurate terminology or reinventing

Thanks for your details of where you see XML, and what you have done
in CML. I hope I'm not alone in thinking that the development of
vertical-market metalanguages is one of the future development areas
for both SGML and the Web.

   be aiming to do?" and my particular requirement is to carry precise data 
   in precise data structures.  (By 'precise' I mean that XML provides
   tools whereby the sender and the recipient can agree what the data mean and
   how they are organised.) HTML cannot do this.

I think XML can enable this, ie a user could build an application to
define a language with the required precision, but XML itself will not
be such a language.

   My own interest has been in transporting molecules and scientific data, 
   but I believe that there are many other domains which have essentially the
   same meta-requirements as my community.  (I have a suggestion of one or

Hundreds of such domains, not just in the scientific field.

   importance to us but the distillation of the ERB will need to be
   presented in a manner where relative non-specialists can get
   started in a gentle manner.

What I said, Documentation, documentation, documentation.

   applications without having to rely on this.  We found that our
   subject was not important enough for the browser m'facturers to be
   interested in.]

It has always amazed me that the math|phys|bio|chem communities have
been so neglected by browser makers. There must be tens of thousands
who would pay for a seriously good scientific browser.

   below.  Personally I find coding for more than one level of indirection
   very hard work.  My recommendation is that you should not come up with
   a spec which is so complex that only gurus can write implementations.

I think this has been taken on board in the last couple of weeks :-)

   (m) I started using SGML ID/IDREF as the mechanism for links and relations.
   However I so frequently created imperfect documents that I decided to 
   borrow the NAME and HREF attributes from HTML.  These are available to
   all my ELEMENTs, though in practice I use only NAME, and put URLs and
   internal links in content (this allows it to be typed).

I'm not clear what NAME and HREF gain over ID and IDREF, or do you
just mean that NAME/HREF can be done using existing browsers.

	   - addressing of elements by attribute, context and possibly
		   by content
	   - (sub)addressing of content (e.g. by token or larger 'natural 
		   component' (e.g. quoted string)
	   - typing documents in URLs
	   - an extensible means of typing relations

I think both HyTime and TEI-EPN can do this.

	   - coordinating mechanisms for common data structures

Can you explain a bit more about this?

Received on Monday, 27 January 1997 18:26:50 UTC

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