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Re: XML 1.0 - reading confusion - parsed vs unparsed

From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 08:12:27 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: kmp@harlequin.com (Kent M Pitman), xml-editor@w3.org
At 11:43 AM 4/24/98 EDT, Kent M Pitman wrote:
>The introductory text in section 4, Physical Structures, is very
>confusing.  It uses a meaning for "parsed" which is alien to any
>meaning of "parsed" that I am familiar with.

Well, I must say that I'm impressed at the intensity you've been putting
into reading the XML spec.  I am sorry that you find it so disappointing.
I'll try to find the time in the near future to address the points
you raise, but before that, a couple of meta-points are in order:

First, XML 1.0 is effectively frozen now and will not be changing.  Yes,
there are shortcomings, but at some point we had to draw the line and
ship, so on Feb. 10th, we did.

Second, others, who find the spec less unsatisfying than you do, have
charged in and implemented a wide variety of parsers and tools in a
variety of languages; so far, they seem to offer very high 
interoperability (it helps having James Clark in the field) - thus
for most developers, details of syntax can generally be ignored and
outsourced to the XML processor authors.

Having said that, all your input has gone in my "errata" file and
will be considered carefully when, if ever, we do another revision of
the XML spec.

Finally, as to your specific point regarding "parsed" and "unparsed" -
the committee kicked around lots of options.  In earlier drafts we
had used "text" and "binary" but that was unsatisfactory since "binary"
might in fact be text.  In fact, the only distinguishing characteristic
of "binary" entities (what SGML calls "data" entities) is that they are
not read and parsed by the XML processor.  So the correct label should
be "NotToBeReadByTheXMLProcessor", for which "unparsed" seemed to us
an acceptable contraction.  Then for symmetry, the other kind is called
"parsed".  I agree with you that there are other usages of the word 
"parsed", but I do feel that our usage is legitimate and unsurprising.

BTW, can we infer from your close attention that Harlequin is going
to do something interesting with XML?

Cheers, Tim Bray
tbray@textuality.com http://www.textuality.com/ +1-604-708-9592
Received on Saturday, 25 April 1998 11:16:31 UTC

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