At 05:36 PM 11/10/2008, Syd wrote:
> > The investments you've already made in learning something, vs. the
> > investments you're willing to make in learning something else
> > (including the opportunity costs of doing so) -- those concerns are
> > never far away.
>One reason I like RELAX NG is that the investment needed to learn it,
>while still too high to make it worth the effort in some cases, is
>less than the investment needed to learn the equivalent
>functionality of the DTD language or W3C XML Schema language.
I think this is interesting and highly arguable. I've actually found
that while RNG is easy and fun for people to learn who have already
mastered DTDs, to those new to the topics of document analysis and
content modeling, especially those unpracticed in "going meta" on
their documents, it's not really easier. On the contrary, for some,
its elegance and smooth surface make it simply baffling, whereas the
fairly concise but "scratchy" syntax of DTDs gives a bit more of a
handle. RNG really comes into its own under maintenance and when
things get complex, not at beginner level.
In any case, content modeling is at the core. Especially these days,
when an intro course regularly includes students who are used to
thinking of tags as "application driver code" (use this markup to
make it big, that markup to make it blue), the real challenge is
dramatizing the wherefores as well as the how.
Getting started with DTDs involves a certain amount of fiddliness and
a certain amount of bizarre "this is just the way it was designed
(once upon a time)". The really interesting thing to me is how this
certain amount of noise, by impeding signal just so much, can
actually make it easier for many people to learn, since they're
distracted from the hard part just long enough to let it get into their heads.
Wendell Piez mailto:[log in to unmask]
Mulberry Technologies, Inc. http://www.mulberrytech.com
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