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RE: (Partial) review of Versioning XML

From: Marc de Graauw <marc@marcdegraauw.com>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 21:45:56 +0200
To: "'John Cowan'" <cowan@ccil.org>, <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Cc: "'Norman Walsh'" <ndw@nwalsh.com>, "'David Orchard'" <dorchard@bea.com>, <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <007f01c7a2f3$29a0b8a0$8a00a8c0@MARCNOTE>

John Cowan:

| In shorter, a language is a (mathematical) set of XML documents.

Which means giving an extensional definition of a language, and that
solution suffers from the same problems as all extensional definitions:
while superficially clear (a set is a mathematical notion after all), it is
in practice impossible to give me say, all members of the set of UBL 1.0 or
of HL7v3 documents. So the extensional definition doesn't help in practice:
I cannot determine whether doc X is an UBL 1.0 or HL7v3 document given an
extensional definition. 

Therefore an intensional definition is a necessary evil: though, as Noah
pointed out, not necessarily a formal grammar: in most XML languages,
certainly in the two mentioned above, natural language, with all it's
imprecision and expressiness, plays a major part, and - as far as I am
concerned - rightly so.

Marc de Graauw

Received on Wednesday, 30 May 2007 19:46:40 UTC

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