At 02:26 PM 5/17/2005, you wrote:
> > It was a doctrine driven not by theory but by tool implementation,
> > I'd say. Having SGML invented by essentially a computer science
> > amateur...
>I don't think that would be correct. Heck, when we (WWP) embarked on
>the use of this doctrine, we had no tools! And while it may well be
>argued that lots of aspects of SGML markup were not thoroughly enough
>thought through or tested, I don't see any reason to suspect that
>this doctrine would not have emerged if better tools had been
>available or if the inventors of SGML had PhDs in CS.
>I think that, for a long time, there was the text, and the markup
>that said something about the text. In truth, I don't wonder if we
>had a better markup meta-language, if that wouldn't still be true.

I agree with Syd that I think the doctrine is at least implicit in the idea
of markup-as-markup. There's "the text", and then there's the markup. In
this sense I think the doctrine probably precedes SGML, as being just as
germane to COCOA (for example).

Once you've trained your brain to see markup-as-structure, and particularly
once you've accepted the notion that what we're doing is building "data
models" or "information sets" that happen to be tree-shaped, the doctrine
starts to seem arbitrary. In a labeled-tree-of-objects, data is data and
the useful distinction between (for example) elements and attributes begins
to blur.

A better markup meta-language ... yeah, for sure ... something that would
allow overlap and encode arbitrary structures in attributes (or the
equivalent thereof)?


Wendell Piez                            mailto:[log in to unmask]
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