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Re: Regularity: a fundamental property of declarative

  • From: "Liam R. E. Quin" <liam@fromoldbooks.org>
  • To: "Costello, Roger L." <costello@mitre.org>, "xml-dev@l..." <xml-dev@l...>
  • Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2019 15:33:30 -0500

Re:  Regularity: a fundamental property of declarative
On Wed, 2019-01-30 at 18:52 +0000, Costello, Roger L. wrote:
> Hi Folks,
> What are the properties of "declarative"?
> Here's one.
> Assertion #1: A key feature of declarative data is the ability of
> readers (both human readers and machine readers) to recognize, at a
> glance, the shape/topology of the data.

i am not at all sure it is meaningful to talk about declarative data.

Data does not move. It sits there glowering at people, waiting to be

> Assertion #2: Regularity gives data a visible/parse-able shape and
> therefore regularity is a fundamental property of declarative.

Well, i think Dmitre has answered this one. But i am not at all certain
what yu mean by regular here, nor by discernable shapes. There are
discernable shapes in the arrangement of the stars, which we call
constellations, but i do not think the arrangement of the stars is
declarative: or, if it declares anything, we cannot conclusively read

> Assertion #3: Declarative is superior. Always choose declarative.

What does superior mean?  Different is not equal? 

> Conclusion: Choose regular data over irregular data.
> Below is an example of regular XML-encoded data followed by an
> example of irregular XML-encoded data.

Here i think by regular you mean consistent. In a world in which the
markup is considered primary, or where the information is under
authorial control, this makes sense. If one is transcribing (say) an
sixteenth-century book, one does not have liberty to rearrange text in
one’s transcription and still to call the result a transcription. But
that does not mean that a receipt from an electronic funds transfer is
in all ways superior to the works of Shakespeare. It means it’s easier
to process automatically, perhaps.



Liam Quin, https://www.delightfulcomputing.com/
Available for XML/Document/Information Architecture/XSLT/
XSL/XQuery/Web/Text Processing/A11Y training, work & consulting.
Web slave for vintage clipart http://www.fromoldbooks.org/

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