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Re: limits of the generic

Re:  limits of the generic
Jonathan Robie wrote:

> I think there *is* broad agreement for integers, floats, doubles, strings,
> etc. across programming languages and data representations.

Yes, there is, just as there is 'broad agreement for' many other abstractly
understood datatypes. What there is not agreement on in an XML-centric view is
any particular instantiation of any of these types. That is, in fact, the point
of text-based markup:  accepting as a first premise that binary instantiations
(let alone operations predicated upon those instantiations) are utterly local
and shared only sporadically. Markup must therefore function as its creator's
preferred identification of particular content. Where there is a contract in
the form of a DTD or other schema, it is binding only upon the data creator who
chooses to identify and then to abide by it. From the data recipient's point of
view, that contract is no more than the data creator's undertaking to present
particular classes of data in a particular consistent form.

What any data recipient does internally with the data it receives is invisible
in theory to the data creator, and in my experience most often invisible in
practice as well. What the data recipient can do with the data it receives is
utterly dependent upon how that data is instantiated for use. In short, to give
up to some external datatype specification control of the specific local
instantiation of data is to give up the possibility of uniquely local
processing, and thereby unique local value added from that processing. Is that
a reasonable expectation of a competitive business model which relies upon
local, often proprietary, expertise?


Walter Perry


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