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Re: manipulating whole XML documents as text

manipulating xml documents
At 11:01 AM -0500 3/19/02, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
>Maybe Ted Nelson was right about out-of-line markup having advantages.

Of course he was. There are also disadvantages, to do with the 
increased complexity of editing models for such representations. You 
have to either update the offsets as the underlying text changes, or 
create a text model that does that for you. Maintaining link 
integrity was the reason for much of the work that Xanadu did 
tracking text across versions. It's possible, but the tradeoff is the 
need to create an efficient way to update the offsets.

Plus, well-formedness becomes trickier because the representation 
accommodates non-hierarchical structures as well as hierarchical ones 
-- good if you need or want that flexibility, bad if you don't.

>Does anyone know of an XML implementation which provides read/write
>access to the contents of elements in the document as text, and makes
>changes to that text - including the insertion of new elements - to the
>elements underlying it? 

I'm not clear about the solution that you're looking for, though. Are 
you asking for an interface that can do an operation like:

Element.insertTexttext("this is a <emph>subelement</emph> embedded in 
text", location);

and the result will create a modified element tree with a new element node?

I'd be surprised if you find one, because that's a rather "non-node" 
way of looking at things.

>  Anything crossing element
>boundaries will be difficult, but hopefully not insurmountable.

This last point puzzles me, because I'm not sure how such an 
interface could "cross" boundaries.

    -- David
David Durand                    |  12 Bassett St.
david.durand@i...        |  Providence RI, 02903-4628 USA
VP, Software Architecture       |  401-331-2014 x111 Cell: 401-935-5317
ingenta plc                     |  FAX: 401-331-2015
http://www.dynamicDiagrams.com/ http://www.ingenta.com/


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