Re: [SML] Whether to support Attribute or not?
On Mon, 29 Nov 1999, Sean McGrath wrote: > The notion that attributes are a fundamentally different > type of information is what I find disturbing. I mark up > a section of law like this: > <section n = "1"> > <p> > This Act shall be know as ... > </p> > ... > </section> > > Now is the number 1 "about" the section? Yes. Is it > part of the content of the section? Yes. Is it somehow > intrinsically different from the text of the section? > I don't think so. To those who say attributes are > always meta-content I say this (with tongue in > cheek):- > > <element aboutelement="false"/> Ok. I just find the distinction useful for my rather strained thought process. Just for my articulation, I'd like to clarify how I see it. First, something often ignored is context. Without a frame of reference there is no way to categorize anything. So, I agree with your statement above about no single a universal category for any one item. However, I do find a simple binary split to give insight and act as a great guide for organizing information: Attributes: The rules, directives, instructions, which individually mean nothing in the current context, but taken together give structure to the element. In particuar, these act as "instructions" to the processor which acts on the xml, configuring the processor so that it knows how to handle the incoming content. This information is targeted at the target program, not the final consumer. Content: Those components, which, in the current frame of reference, have individual value and are seperable from the whole. In particualar, these act as "data" to the processor -- the information to be processed. This inforamation is targeted to the final consumer. Anyway, to me the distinction is all too clear and it is also irritating when people don't seem to see it as I do (perhaps this is immaturity). However, I recognize that my description is far from perfect. However, as the methodology has served me well, wish to inform others of what I've learned from diligent reading and study of others. > [...] > > > >I'm not saying that this is a direct analogy, however, > >there are domains which attributes are very useful > >and mixing them with content seems very confusing. > > I agree they can be confusing to the human eye > but so too are CALS tables with all the end-tags! Yep. I'm not so happy with <element <att>val</att> /> but this style of syntax does support a binary decomposition of the information. How well such a thing would work really depends on valid applications... how well it works in the real world. > Attributes are a form of markup minimization. > They are more pleasing to the eye in certain > situations. Easier to read and all that. I tend to use them to support this particular decomposition of the problem domain. So far it has proved to give nice rewards in reduced complexity. I'm still an XML "adventurer", so we will see how sustaining the success is. > >In any case, if SML were to drop attributes, and not > >provide at least a non-recursive replacement, then > >I think the solutions using the "simpler" standard > >would be far more "complicated" than just using XML. > > > >And, once again, I'm not sure at all about recursive > >attributes... I'm just pointing out the possibility > >and thinking out loud. Sorry if this makes you unhappy. > > > Apologies about the "harrupmph!" of the last posting. > Got a bit worked up. No offense intended. Same here. ;) Best, Clark xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev@i... Archived as: http://www.lists.ic.ac.uk/hypermail/xml-dev/ and on CD-ROM/ISBN 981-02-3594-1 To unsubscribe, mailto:majordomo@i... the following message; unsubscribe xml-dev To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo@i... the following message; subscribe xml-dev-digest List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa@i...)
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