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Re: What are the practical, negative consequences ofthinking t

  • From: Rick Jelliffe <rjelliffe@allette.com.au>
  • To: "Costello, Roger L." <costello@mitre.org>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2017 03:09:30 +1100

Re:  What are the practical
> Can you give me a concrete, practical example showing where bad things happen because someone thought that attributes are metadata?

No, but there has been a widely known case of the opposite: treating attributes as data (text).  The example would be html:img/@title or html:img/@alt  for example.  In some markup systems, they want to mark up some internationalization metadata on spans of text, for example to reverse the directionality of the text for BDI (right to left, and left to right):  perfect for mixed content, but cannot be done in attribute values.  (And so, people would use the Unicode BDI characters for this; not necessarily a bad thing.)  There are many other cases where Unicode needs to be augmented with markup, for example to select the correct character variants for Chinese (T&S), Japanese and Korean characters, where the author needs the exact character independent of what Han Unification says and what the document language settings might be. 

On Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 2:24 AM, Costello, Roger L. <costello@mitre.org> wrote:
Hi Folks,

Consider this XML:

<Book binding="hardcover">
    <Title>Software Abstractions</Title>
    <Author>Daniel Jackson</Author>

I often hear people say that attributes are metadata. For example, @binding is metadata.

David Carlisle likes to remind me that there is nothing in the XML specification which says that attributes are metadata. In fact, the XML specification does not even use the word "metadata."

So when I hear people talking about attributes being metadata, I channel David Carlisle and tell them that attributes are not metadata.

But I'm thinking this is a lost cause. The belief that attributes are metadata is too widespread.

Besides, what difference does it make if people think that attributes are metadata? Can you give me a concrete, practical example showing where bad things happen because someone thought that attributes are metadata?



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