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From: Martin Bryan <mtbryan@sgml.u-net.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 20:55:56 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: Andrew Layman <andrewl@microsoft.com>, "XML Working Group (E-mail)" <w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org>
At 10:39 11/6/97 -0700, Andrew Layman wrote:

>The exact meaning of the BEHAVIOR attribute is not clear to me. (I think
>it is a combination of notation and processing. If so, it doesn't belong
>in the data.)
>The basic XML data concerns what something is, not how it should be

The example that was being discussed, <date>19960527</date>, clearly showed
that what is important is knowing what something is. Unless you understand
the notation used for this date you cannot interpret it. As I said in my
earlier messages, as we cannot use notation for XML elements, and we do not
have access to the lexical typing mechanism provided in the SGML Extended
Facilities Annex, we need some way to distinguish between the following
valid dates:

<date country=US>01022001</date>
<date country=UK>01022001</date> (30 days later!)
<date country=Isreal culture=Hebrew>20010101</date> (This isn't even in the
same millenium!)
<date country=Isreal culture=Arabic>10022010</date>(This  isn't the same as
any of the other dates.)

<date>01022001</date> is clearly not sufficient to undertand the contents.
You need some qualifier (as I have been forced to do with application
specific attributes in the preceding examples).

There are many other cases where you need to invoke some outside interpreter
to be able to understand what an element represents. Either you need a
notation processor as per SGML or you need some other indirectable mechanism
for identifying how to interpret the data. What I was suggesting was that
this should be done with a standardized attribute, which I called behaviour
for want of a better name. I do not believe this is about presentation, it
is about being able to make sense of the data when it is not in the same
textual format as the rest of the document. Its about understanding what
something actually is.
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 Wednesday, 11 June 1997 15:57:07 UTC

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