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Re: OO and scripting

Subject: Re: OO and scripting
From: Paul Prescod <paul@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 03:12:50 -0500
difference between pearl and python
David LeBlanc wrote:
> >I don't think that your idea will take hold.
> >
> Based on the existing implementation (of XSL in IE 5) on the market today
> it already has done so. 

IE5 does not implement an "xml:script" element type or anything really
like it.

> Further, I think that various ideas circulating re:
> RDF, CDF and the schema/data proposals, tend to argue towards an OO trend.

RDF, CDF and the schema/data proposals are all decidedly non-programmable.

> I guess that Berners-Lee and Kaye had a difference of opinion similar to
> what I think you and I have.. what is a document, passive or active? OO was
> decried at it's inception too.. and today's dominant languages are, to some
> extent or another, OO 

That's fine, but this isn't the inception of the idea of mixing document
data and processing code. That idea is older than generic markup.
Descriptive, generic markup is a result of the *rejection* of that idea.
Maybe we were wrong to reject the idea 

> (admittedly, languages like VB, Pearl and Python give
> it more lip service then true OO).

Egad. Heresy of heresies! Python's OO is as sophisticated (if not as
religiously mandated) as Smalltalk's and quite a bit more sophisticated
than e.g. Java's.

> Well, in response, a knife might be an object best used for slicing things,
> but wouldn't it be aweful if it was somehow constrained such that it could
> not be used in an emergency as a can opener?

Some knives (e.g. butter knives) can't be be used as can openers. I don't
consider that a problem. XSL can't be used for generalized programming.

> As I understand it, TeX/LaTeX are essentially markup notations - isn't any
> markup better then none?

Sure. And non-programmatic descriptive markup is better than "just

Actually, many people reserve the term "markup" for "descriptive,
nonprogrammable markup."

> Seems to me that while the "separationists" might be in the ascendent in
> the XML reccommendation writing world for now, that the opposing view is
> alive and well and creating agents - which may very well use XML or a
> derivative as a protocol for communication.

Well, agents are an even more massively overhyped technology and have
shown less success in the real world than declarative markup but even if
we presume that someday they will be important, there is a huge difference
between encoding an agent in XML and having a SCRIPT tag. The agent is a
document that is a program. The data it works on is external, not
internal. It is data that is interpreted as a program, not a program that
is embedded in the data.

> If the maintainers and editors of the XML specification (should we say that
> with the same hushed reverence once reserved for the high priests of the
> mainframe?) don't build something that people will use then what is the
> point? 

People use XML. Increasingly they use it instead of languages like TeX and
Postscript with programming built in.

> So far as I know, the only broadly available easily obtainable
> implementation (the one in IE 5) contains a <script> tag. Perhaps the
> market has already spoken.

As far as I know, IE5's XML parser has no native support for a script tag.
Their *HTML* parser does, but I don't believe their XML parser does.

Even if it did, it would be irrelevant. The market routinely rejects
Microsoft's Web technologies. 

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself

Diplomatic term: "Emerging Markets"
Translation: Poor countries. The great euphemism of the Asian financial
             meltdown. Investors got much more excited when they thought 
they could invest in up-and-comers than when they heard they could invest 
in the Third World.(Brills Content, Apr. 1999)

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