Re: Schematron Question: proper way to express the textversion
Costello, Roger L. wrote: > Hi Folks, > Within the <sch:assert> element you can provide a textual description > of the assertion (which I indicate above using "-- text version of > assertion --"). What is the best way of stating the text version of an > assertion: > > "is", "should be", or "must be"? > In English? Who knows! > For the above example, which of these is best: > > (a) EndTime is greater than StartTime > > (b) EndTime should be greater than StartTime > > (c) EndTime must be greater than StartTime > > Or perhaps something else? > > What is recommended? > For contingent constraints, such as business rules, I tend towards the form An X should be Y, because Z. For necessary constraints, such as your date range example, I tend towards the form An X must be Y. For example <assert test=" startTime < endTime " role="rangeConstraint"> Meeting times are specified by two times. The start time must be earlier than the end time. </assert> You might consider specifying the assertion text in terms of the problem domain rather than the markup. This way the assertion can be written or maintained by domain experts who don't know the particular serialization used, and the assertion can be understood by users who have the XML data mediated through some GUI (and so cannot see the element names or structures.) One approach is to think "Are these assertions compehensible if typeset as bullet points?" (I think Michael is correct to bring up the expected users of the text, though they may not be used as validation messages or diagnostics as Roger mentioned.) In fact, you might even think "What forms of assertion allow maximum repurposing?" Even for texts that are not diagnostic, the tone may be important. An old usability text I read said that users react strongly to messages that they think are strident and which seem to blame the user. So shifting "must" to the more polite "should", which will be a locale- and language-dependent consideration of course, might be friendly. On the other hand, when assertions are used contractually, then precision and definiteness may override politeness, I suppose. Cheers Rick Jelliffe
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