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Re: Paranoia and Slippery Slopes (was Re: bohemians,


pregnant with puppies
On Thursday 05 December 2002 16:07, Simon St.Laurent wrote:

> I'll join Alaric Snell in wishing that some of these people had chosen
> ASN.1 for their magic acronym rather than imposing their feature-filled
> universe on markup's do-more-with-less approach to labels and
> structures.  ASN.1 was designed with a strongly-typed paradigm in mind,
> not burdened with it as an expensive afterthought.

/me high-fives Simon

I've just come back from two weeks in Geneva helping bash out the standards 
for using XML as an encoding for ASN.1 abstract values, and the mapping from 
XSD to equivelant ASN.1 types - and I must say that I have gained a new 
distaste for XSD from poking around in its bowels so deeply! *groan*

Despite my general whinging about XML, I'm quite content with XML as 
SGML-lite; it does a nice job with DocBook and the like (thanks for the 
stylesheets, Norman!), so I echo Simon's sentiments I think.

However, I think that 'document like structures' needn't be totally isolated 
from 'data like structures'... but I think that document-like should be a 
subset of data-like. "Data" is a very general term for 'information', 
document is a bit more specific. Certainly it's quite simple on an abstract 
level; the DOM defines a document model within a strongly typed system. The 
debate is about the syntax rather than the theory, a nice way of writing it.

I would recommend having a nice flexible data model, with types but a 
sufficiently powerful type system to be able to specify things like 'any' if 
necessary, and defining transfer syntaxes for it that all encode the same 
values but with are convenient in different ways. Ideally with a nice simple 
least common demoninator.

XML is OK (not perfect, but OK) for documents. But I'd rather have CSV for 
inherently tabular data; it's easier to program, you can manipulate it with 
AWK, it's compact, the encoders/decoders have small footprints, and there's 
lots of software that handles it. And, for various reasons, I do not feel 
particularly bound to being defined in terms of text; character encoding 
issues make this a nightmare in practice!

So I have several bones to pick with the idea of starting with a document 
model and trying to extend it into a data model, then everyone jumping on the 
bandwagon and saying it's the best thing since sliced bread :-)

> >before I'm
> >going to get my back down, fur flattened, and hissing stopped. [It's
> >obvious I live in a multi-cat household, eh?]
>
> My dogs would agree, though hissing isn't their preferred approach.

I like cats. However, my girlfriend, observing my (very slight!) widening at 
the waist, has diagnosed me as being pregnant - with puppies. I think she's 
getting broody.

ABS

-- 
A city is like a large, complex, rabbit
 - ARP

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