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Re: Are we losing out because of grammars?

  • From: Sean McGrath <sean@d...>
  • To: Eric van der Vlist <vdv@d...>,"Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@i...>, xml-dev@l...
  • Date: Wed, 07 Feb 2001 13:33:27 +0000

containership model
At 09:45 AM 1/29/01 +0100, Eric van der Vlist wrote:
>You're right that there is probably nothing very new here, but I am
>afraid I don't get your point.
>Do you mean that such large systems cannot be modeled, that a single
>model cannot be shared by all the involved parties or that schema
>languages should try to (better) take this requirement into account ?

Single models (monolithic) fail in the real world not in the theoretical

In theory, people in a smoke filled room can agree a top-down
model of data interchange. In practice, the cannot. In theory, developers
can manage the state-space explosion inherent in processing
monolithic content models but in practice they cannot.

I think the mantra that "content + presentation == document" is part
of the problem.

In reality there are two main sub-divisions of "content":
         "semantics + aggregation + presentation == document"

Agreeing semantic elements (invoice, voltage, footnote) is far more
politically/technically feasible than agreeing aggregation elements (ledger,
TV set, Technical Manual).

Moreover, I think a multi-dimensional XML modelling technique
in which the *expression* of the aggregation is itself an XML
instance, it a powerful and general modelling approach worthy
of consideration in many contexts.

There are a number of analogies. All are useful to some degree
but break down if you push them too far...

Polymorphism - a containership model in which the type of the
things contained is not relevant.

Merchant Shipping - what has standardized? The design of
the ship or the design of the containers loaded on to the ships
and subsequently transported by truck/rail?

Bottom Up Analysis - start by modelling the component units
of a system and work upwards towards ways of agregating
them together.

Tupperware (tm) - A containership model in which content and
containers can be intermixed. The contents of the containers
is never modelled in the outer container(s).



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