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Re: Idea - std. non-flat <g><e/></g> syntax


names of stds
David,

I am not really at the FAQ level on this.  I am an accountant with advanced technical
skills but far from a professional programmer type. I can say that I have studied and
understand most of the available XML technology and information theories behind it. Having
said that, the advice you provide is perfectly correct if I am interested in writing XSLT.
I would most admittedly need some help. :) However, your stylesheet example was really a
diversion from the central message ...the stylesheet was assumed in my "idea"(not that I
could easily write it).

Actually, I am saying that the stylesheet is so self-evident that we SHOULD not even need
it. We SHOULD (without anything application specific) be able to say  to users: "Here is
what your files look like in this here <g><e/></g> thing... and that is ok to use as an
alternative with this or any other XML file you need to create.".

>>XML has (almost) no fixed names at all<<

Yes, I am simply reflecting on the idea that XML could have had something like <g><e/></g>
at the level of reserved words in a programming language. It doesn't go against the intent
of XML because it is not a vocabulary, it is a general condition of all flat xml in any
vocabulary. It is like where I can transpose a range in a spreadsheet, but xml has no
official syntax to "flip" between flat to hierarchy ... and back.

After trying this on some existing files, I realized that, from now on, I will seldom want
to directly use native flat formats, and will front them all, all such vocabularies, with
"<g><e/></g>" internally at some point. That "aha" is the only reason I posted this idea.

I will also be writing some scripts for this, but we can agree that XSLT fills this purpose
nicely.
 ... and no doubt the particulars of XSLT is better taken up on a different forum.

Thanks much. I will check out Jeni's site ... have been there before and IIRC the same
grouping discussion is in her book.


regards,

bill p




David Carlisle wrote:

> > Going the other way might require reordering the groups of records to place all with
> > identical attributes together. Or the stylesheet could explicitly state the matching
> > attributes that cause a <g><e/></g> block and that would be pretty easy. What is
> > interesting is that users would do this grouping themselves ... they would do it as a
> > matter of convenience when creating the <g><e/></g> blocks.
> >
> > The ultimate improvement of your example is an identity transform copying everything
> > verbatim except this expansion of the <g><e/></g>. That is the stylesheet that would
> > substantially implement what I am proposing for files preprocessed against the
> > stylesheet. How easy is that? :)
> >
>
> Both of those (which would each only require a line or two of xslt) are
> day to day faq questions on xsl-list Perhaps you should move this there,
> or see the usual reference for grouping on Jeni's site
> http://www.jenitennison.com/xslt/grouping/
>
> Grouping and flattening of hierarchical data is just what XML is all
> about, so I'm not sure I understand this thread really. I think you are
> proposing that the element names be hard coded into applications but
> that would be going against the whole point of XML which is a meta
> language for defining vocabularies. Specfic vocabularies such as xhtml
> have fixed element names but XML has (almost) no fixed names at all.
>
> David
>
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