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RE: NMTOKENS: good or evil?

Uche, Michael,

Thanks a lot for your comments.

Well, we will consider using NMTOKENS in some cases, and will recommend exslt
functions, XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 for their manipulation.

We will certainly use this feature for "power" features of IPTC standards only,
as an alternative to the specification of repeatable elements, where the values
of the attribute act as qualifiers of the element content: users (news
providers) with basic needs will therefore not have to process NMTOKENS. 

It is still bizarre that a native feature of xml has so little support in first
generation xml tools, and forces users to manipulate strings "by hand". But ...
xml is a young technology.

Laurent Le Meur
IPTC NewsML2 Architecture WP chair

> -----Message d'origine-----
> De : Uche Ogbuji [mailto:uche.ogbuji@f...]
> Envoyé : dimanche 19 février 2006 17:04
> À : Laurent Le Meur
> Cc : newsml-2@y...; xml-dev@l...
> Objet : Re:  NMTOKENS: good or evil?
> Laurent Le Meur wrote:
> > The IPTC NewsML2 Working Group (www.iptc.org/dev) has tried to avoid
> > drafting its specification.
> >
> >
> > The reason is that using a list of space-separated values is not really
> > conformant to “the XML way” (it is à priori sensible to have a sub-element
> for
> > each enumerated value). And that we don’t know about an easy way to process
> them
> > using XSLT, XPATH or DOM for example. The problem seems rooted in XML
> parsers
> > themselves, which usually treat them as strings (and not as collections of
> > tokens) [1].
> >
> Forget DOM ;-) OK just kidding, but surely almost any language that
> would be hosting a DOM has string ops that would make handling NMTOKENS
> trivial. As for XPath and XSLT, don't forget EXSLT
> http://www.exslt.org/
> The string module functions split() and tokenize() make it easy to
> handle NMTOKENS values. The string module has very good support in
> popular XSLT processors.
> So NMTOKENS are neither good nor evil. They just are. And they are
> *very* far from the toughest nut to crack in XML.
> --
> Uche Ogbuji                               Fourthought, Inc.
> http://uche.ogbuji.net                    http://fourthought.com
> http://copia.ogbuji.net                   http://4Suite.org
> Articles: http://uche.ogbuji.net/tech/publications/


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