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Re: Breaking whats fixed

  • From: Norman Gray <norman@astro.gla.ac.uk>
  • To: rjelliffe <rjelliffe@allette.com.au>
  • Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 10:37:36 +0000

Re:  Breaking whats fixed

Rick, hello.

I'm guessing you're responding to me!

On 2010 Dec 12, at 23:10, rjelliffe wrote:

> Then they wouldn't need to pretend it has anything to do with being a markup language (i.e. the technology tradition that is based on affording arbitrary and rigorous *annotation* of pre-existing text.)  There is room for multiplicity, for meeting private expectations.

Erm... I think I was emphatic that the lisp-like syntax would be hideous for document-centric markup.  It has absolutely nothing to do with being a markup language.  For that, you want XML.

Where it's useful (to me; I'm claiming little else) is for things like XSLT.  There's nothing being 'marked up' there -- using XML syntax for that is an abuse of a markup language, and the single ugliest thing about XSLT (I know of, and appreciate, the historical reasons why it happened that way, and that there are advantages to the templating feature of that method).  Bit of a hobbyhorse there.

> XML is not broken just because it doesn't look like S-expressions

I think I may have missed some messages in this thread.  Which idiot suggested this?

> (Which is not to say that XML would not benefit by hygenic short tags like </> being available,

The other point of my intervention was to suggest that I can see little point in such half-hearted minimisation as this.  But perhaps I'm just missing it.

> and that S-expressions would not benefit by some different syntax to signpost large or complex expressions: some churn is good.)

We're getting a little away from the point here, but no matter.  People always say this about lisp-like syntaxes, but it's like the 'XML is inefficient' canard -- the practice makes it a non-problem.  People read lisp-like syntaxes like they read python, by looking at the indentation, which any programmers' editor can easily manage for them.  After a couple of days, no-one even sees the parentheses any more, any more than they see the spaces between words.

All the best,


Norman Gray  :  http://nxg.me.uk

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