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Re: documenting schemas/DTDs

  • From: edwsm@u...
  • To: "Thomas B. Passin" <tpassin@m...>
  • Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 14:38:26 -0500

ed smierciak
If I strip the syntax off of the message you sent me, it might become:

    The the the if for is is in in but has not "not after" all all,
    You you what what "latent in the syntax" at at reason date plays
    valid system meaning can can't included tell (syntax), (semantics).
been

I took your message and squeezed out the structure that is required for
well-formed English (The DTD if you will that controls how nouns, verbs,
adjectives, prepositions, etc. can be combined :-).  Your words lose their
meaning (semantics) without the structure (syntax) you used to organize
them.
Also, if you took the exact same words and organized them differently, the
result could be a valid English message with a completely different
meaning.  If meaning changes with structure, then I think that structure
must contain at least some of the meaning of a message.

Syntax matters.


Ed Smierciak




"Thomas B. Passin" <tpassin@m...>@ic.ac.uk on 11/19/99 10:35:19 AM

Please respond to "Thomas B. Passin" <tpassin@m...>

Sent by:  owner-xml-dev@i...


To:   <xml-dev@i...>
cc:
Subject:  Re: documenting schemas/DTDs




-----Original Message-----
From: edwsm@u... <edwsm@u...>


>There's another school which holds that "syntax IS semantics".
>
>A DTD for X.509 certificates allows me to express what parts of the
>certificate I consider required, what parts of the certificate I
consider
>optional, as well as the legal forms of the parts themselves.
>
>I can tell whether or not a certificate is valid, and also *why* (e.g.
no
>signature algorithm name was provided, the "not after" date was
malformed).
>I think that if I can answer "why" questions, I'm operating in the
semantic
>realm.
>
>Meaning may only be conveyed (manifested?) in "running code or
>human-readable prose", but the meaning is latent in the syntax, and
>couldn't be conveyed if it wasn't already there.
>

You can tell if the "not after" date is valid or not (syntax), but you
can't tell for what reason it has been included at all, what role it
plays in the system (semantics).  The meaning  is not "latent in the
syntax" at all.

Tom Passin


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