RE: [OT] Difference between an extensible versus an evolvable
If you define evolution as the accretion of new features, sure. If you mean adding new
instances of those features, no. In any layered system, one must be careful to specify
which layer is evolving vs one that is merely accreting.
If you define evolution as 'change' one *might* say this is evolution. Amazon added categories
so the addition of the categorical function is evolution (a new feature) but adding categories
In a biological system, evolution is a feature that is inheritable. Comparing that to Amazon,
those are not evolution unless adding categories or search to Amazon adds it to any
descendant of Amazon or any system derived from Amazon. If Amazon cannot have
decendants, it cannot evolve. In this sense, evolution is an observable process of
populations as they adapt to their environment, shape their environment, and then
adapt to those changes (mediated feedback). So my question to you is, what
is the equivalent of Amazon.com genes? Adding categories could mean the
information is evolving, but Amazon evolved only when the categorical function
was added, and then it accretes categories.
My position would be that XML evolution is in the addition or deletion of features
of a schema (at any metalevel one cares to work) because it defines the system.
So one might look at how instances acquire new elements and attributes that are
then added to their schemas as definitions. For example, aggregation: why would
one relax constraints such that composite documents become homogenous?
One might do that if working on one product in isolation and fits HTML elements into
say SVG applications.
Is XML an evolution of SGML or simply an adaptation (it lost features, so
maybe it is devolution)?
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