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Re: (data) medium is the message

Re:  (data) medium is the message

Simon St.Laurent wrote:

> I think I'm with Peter on this one as far as normalization.
> At the same time, though, I think there's a huge difference between the
> expectations of relational databases - which really demand a schema
> upfront before you're allowed to work with data - and XML, which has no
> such requirements.  No rules, no violation - no harm, no foul.
> One of these days I'd like to figure out if the math underlying RELAX NG
> and the math underlying relations can be made compatible.  That seems
> like a plausible path forward toward an easily processable and vaguely
> cross-media world, but I still don't think it'll cover all the
> differences.

Maybe not completely compatible, but certainly complementary.
Google for "XML normal form," a lot of people are working
on this.

In particular, Murali Mani's recent paper "Constraint
Specification for XML" has some good ideas in this direction.
As per usual, MM's paper is heavy on the math, but if I get the
gist of it, the XGrammar constraint system (sort of a souped-up
version of XSLT-style keys/keyrefs (which themselves are a
souped-up version of ID/IDREFS)) sort of "overlays" a relational
structure on top of the hierarchical XML document structure.
This approach looks promising.

--Joe English



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