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Re: KISS (was: Parameter entity references in WF docs)

From: Martin Bryan <mtbryan@sgml.u-net.com>
Date: Tue, 03 Jun 1997 08:19:02 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: cbullard@hiwaay.net
Cc: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
At 20:15 2/6/97 -0500, len bullard wrote:
> I believe a document is a signal.  
>Call it an infoObject if you like (very old term) but for applications 
>where documents are transactions, small and concise and 
>errorfree as discipline enables is better.  IMO, lots of 
>little DTDs are much better than a very big one.  Maybe 
>we will discover data dictionaries (gee, we need a 
>trendier name for these).

Whilst this is true for most engineering uses of SGML it is far from true
for most applications relating to laws. You cannot turn bits of laws into
infoObjects safely, any more than you can safely make the set of tasks in a
maintenance process into separately managed info objects, because the
interaction between the parts is as important as the information within
them. Some applications require large DTDs to maintain the relationships
between objects accurately. These are the applications where PEs are vital.
It really depends on what is the minimal amount of information that you need
for a transaction. Want me to draw up a house purchase agreement for you
from a database of disparate infoObjects?

>  Given choices of things that I as an SGML 
>designer have to give up to get freedom of markup back on the 
>Web, I'm willing to let PEs go in the first pass.

And I'm willing to abandon XML if it does not let me validatable
maintainable  DTDs within at least a year.

>Programmers are the ultimate reduction artists.  As soon as they 
>see enough repeating groups under the root of a DTD, they'll 
>put them back.  It's that old nagging habit from algebra, ya know.

Yep - thats why they use things like a to represent apples, and why I use
%a; to represent the set of all apple species. PEs are algebra, ya know.

Martin Bryan, The SGML Centre, Churchdown, Glos. GL3 2PU, UK 
Phone/Fax: +44 1452 714029   WWW home page: http://www.sgml.u-net.com/
Received on Tuesday, 3 June 1997 03:19:31 UTC

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