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Re: Why the Infoset?
To: XMLDev list <xml-dev@-----.---.--->
Date: 8/3/2000 3:44:00 AM
Let me first try to summarise the arguments I believe I've heard in this debate. There's agreement that a few applications (such as editors) need access to the whole XML character stream. It's clear that the Infoset is not constraining such applications -- they won't be using it. There's agreement that many applications don't need (or want) to be told about some superficial aspects of the character stream (e.g. most whitespace and character entity references). There's disagreement over exactly which properties should be regarded as superficial. This disagreement comes in two flavours: (a) The Infoset is a useful concept, but it should be amended to (e.g.) retain more DTD information, or to discard comments. (b) Every application will have distinct opinions about what constitutes a significant difference, so trying to standardise on one set is doomed to failure. I personally _do_ believe the Infoset to be useful. The XML world is not one where applications exist in a one-to-one relationship with document types. Once a document is out there, it'll be processed by any number of general and special purpose tools. If those tools are not using compatible definitions of what constitutes significant content, there'll be considerable confusion. If FunkyML chooses to make attribute order significant, then it's going to be a problem if that ordering information is not available to XSLT. I accept that trying to come up with that common definition will cause strain. There's bound to be conflict between the desire for fidelity and the desire for simplicity. But it's worth doing. -- Cheers, John