Re: 2.6 patterns: let's try variations on the XML syntax

Subject: Re: 2.6 patterns: let's try variations on the XML syntax
From: Paul Prescod <papresco@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 09:28:13 -0500
Scott Lawton wrote:
> >Should we abandon Java and other programming languages
> >that do not use XML syntax?
> Well, XSL did express programming constructs in XML; something that (to me)
> is much more awkward than expressing a template match in XML.  I don't find
> it all that readable (compared to traditional syntax) -- but I shrugged off
> the extra effort since I agree with the goal of expressing in XML.

I haven't looked closely, but at this point, XSL seems to be most
certainly NOT a programming language. It may in the future be extensible
WITH a programming language (as DSSSL is) and at that point it would be
nice to have a clear, visual separation between the programming language
parts and the declarative parts. So maybe the verbosity buys us more there
than moral purity. (which may or may not be the case with element-syntax
> But, what's the goal?  To pick the best syntax for macros, programming
> constructs and template match, or to express as much of XSL in XML as is
> reasonable?

The latter. Your definition of reasonable may differ from mine, however. I
don't expect to type addresses between documents in terms of 


Since the problem is essentially the same as the one XSL is addressing,
the two solutions should be compatible, which means attribute-based syntax
is likely to win out (XPointer's attribute-based syntax was
uncontraversial, AFAIK).
> Quick reaction: if a separate working group is formed to create a query
> language, it should define a set of requirements, outline its scope, and
> tackle the problem.  Maybe that's a good idea; I don't know enough about
> the big picture to comment.  But in the absence of that, I think it's best
> to apply the considerable expertise of the working group (and others) to
> come up a good XML syntax.

I'm never against other people expending their own energy. :) 

I would like to believe that the W3C will get this right. Enough people
have recently voiced the idea tha these things should be harmonized that I
expect it to happen sooner or later. So I personally will not spend energy
on an element-syntax for pointers, because I believe that proposal to be
doomed and I believe the alternative to be better anyhow.

 Paul Prescod  -

"You have the wrong number."
"Eh? Isn't that the Odeon?"
"No, this is the Great Theater of Life. Admission is free, but the 
taxation is mortal. You come when you can, and leave when you must. The 
show is continuous. Good-night." -- Robertson Davies, "The Cunning Man"

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