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Re: ATTN: Please comment on XHTML (before it's too late)

  • From: Paul Prescod <paul@p...>
  • To: XMLDev list <xml-dev@i...>
  • Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999 17:22:32 -0400

Re: ATTN: Please comment on XHTML (before it's too late)
David Megginson wrote:
> That violates the basic rule of isolating complexity: if 99.9% of
> processes will need to treat the three XHTML Namespaces as equivalent
> (and I think that Tim's throw-away number was, if anything, a gross
> underestimate -- I cannot imagine even 1 in 1000 processes caring
> about the difference between transitional and strict), then it is
> unjustifiable to force each process to manage the equivalences itself.

I don't think that they should. I think that we should work a universal
top-level equivalence mechanism that can be implemented with reusable
engines. This is vital *anyhow* because e-commerce and EDI need it.

> Even if there is, some day, a top-level equivalence-mapping feature,
> people would still be forced to define the top-level mappings.

Big deal. Defining the mappings is easier than defining the DTDs. In the
case of these three DTDs, in fact, the equivalence is A is a subset of B
which is a subset of C, right? So let's make a REC that allows us to say
that and get on with life!

A year ago you described an equivalence-describing system (for
instances, not entire namespaces) that was only a few pages of prose and
a few hundred lines of Java. For document types as closely related as
the three HTMLs we could define a mechanism in one page of normative

I will almost always fight the idea of sweeping a problem under the
carpet in order to "solve it later." It is twice as hard to fix it
later. The infoset is the perfect example. We've got incompatibilities
between XPath and the DOM up the wazoo because the XML working group
swept the XML data model problem under the carpet.

We are establishing a precedent and a principle here. Elements types
with different content models are different. Applications need to be
able to detect that difference. That HTML is typically so lax and loose
that nobody cares is not really the issue.

 Paul Prescod

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