Re: AW: AW: AW: [xsl] commenting and documenting XSLT (small survey)
Subject: Re: AW: AW: AW: [xsl] commenting and documenting XSLT (small survey)|
From: Wendell Piez <wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2004 15:51:13 -0400
At 08:01 AM 7/8/2004, you wrote:
* item 1
* item 2
with some *emphasized* or ``tt`` text
is very readable and quite "writable" as well. it is just a nice way to
write comments and it quite easy to process into XHTML afterwards.
It is readable, and writable, but:
Is it learnable? (how do I know that * delimits emphasis, except when it
doesn't? what if I want bold not italics? what if I do ~this~, what comes out?)
What happens when it contains glitches?
How does an author know whether it is properly formed, without concepts
analogous to XML "well-formedness" and "valid", and tools to implement
their specifications? Is there any way to know the correctness of the input
besides running the process and inspecting the output? If so, what is it
and how is it specified? If not, who owns, controls, and maintains the
ur-process that controls everything?
Also, I question how easy it is to process into XHTML afterwards. It may be
easy to do the first 80% but I submit that the last 20% -- and all the
subsequent desiderata like "how do I make a list item with more than one
line in it?" -- will probably drive you crazy.
Part of what makes XML so powerful -- for those that have eyes to see -- is
that it handles these questions in such a robust way. No, XML syntax is not
perfect. But the syntax is just the beginning of a markup application, not
the end. XML has not only got a syntax, it has a very sophisticated
processing model as well, which can be used to address questions such as
those I've asked above. Part of XML's sophistication is evident in how
simple it appears to be, and basically is, while it can likewise scale in
complexity to address very difficult, and various, problems.
But that simplicity took years -- decades -- of experimenting with markup
languages before anything solidified (it happened to be SGML) to the point
that it could be reinvented as "XML".
I like WikiML and the whole notion of reduced, learnable, plain-text markup
conventions, and I'll take it as a sign of real progress when one emerges
with a design compelling enough, and a processing model robust enough
(it'll have to go beyond "check correctness by eyeballing output"), to
unseat the currently-dominant paradigm. Anything not as dead-simple as
<tag>this</tag> is going to be a pain to learn, teach, maintain.
And it would be ironic if a utility you developed to help you maintain
stylesheets became a maintenance headache of its own.
You asked for opinions ... I agree with David and DaveP on this one.
Wendell Piez mailto:wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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