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RE: Postel's law, exceptions

natural law exceptions
At 9:13 PM -0500 1/20/04, Bob Wyman wrote:

>	The issue with our feeds is that we don't put <language> tags
>in them. These tags are defined as optional in RSS V2.0, but there is
>no question that having them improves the utility of a feed
>significantly and some people consider their absence to constitute a
>"broken feed.".

What's the purpose of the language tag? Oh, God, I found it. It's the 
natural human language of the feed, isn't it? Bleah. It's really just 
a less useful reinvention of the xml:lang attribute, yet another bit 
of brain damage by a developer who persists in releasing half-baked 
specs based on technologies he doesn't understand. Somehow I thought 
he might have learned something in the last few years. I guess I was 

How would you feel about dropping all language elements and replacing 
them with xml:lang attributes? That would certainly better address 
your need to tag different items with different languages. (This is 
one good reason why the xml:lang attribute should have been used in 
the first place instead of a new, redundant language element.) 
Furthermore, an unexpected attribute is a lot less likely to trip 
people up than an unexpected element. And if anybody challenges you, 
you can justify it by reference to the XML spec.

This is a good example of XML's extensibility and non-draconian 
nature. There is no reason you shouldn't be able to add useful 
information to feeds in this way. Adding a well-formed attribute that 
can be ignored by anyone who doesn't care about it is very different 
from sending malformed data that causes every XML parser on the 
planet to report a fatal error.


   Elliotte Rusty Harold
   Effective XML (Addison-Wesley, 2003)


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