[Doc-SIG] XML Conversion Update

Paul Prescod paul@prescod.net
Mon, 30 Aug 1999 10:48:58 -0400

Sean Mc Grath wrote:
> I believe we should strive for a semantic naming scheme for
> information objects. I propose a naming scheme based
> on what I dub "fully qualified information object identifiers".
> The idea is to use the hierarchical location of an information
> object in a document assembly to arrive at a meaninful and unique
> names e.g.:
>         Library_Reference-Python_Services-UserList.xml
>         API-Abstract_Objects_Layer-Mapping_Protocol.xml

Great but what about when UserList.xml moves -- all links break. Global
names are more robust.

> I suggest we go with XML rather than SGML in the sense
> that anything checked in/out of the system is XML.
> People who know SGML will probably want to pepper
> in some tag minimization for their emacs setup:-)
> They can then use James Clarks SX for example
> to convert to XML.

This presumes that the character representation of the text is
irrelevant. This is emphatically NOT the case for the same reasons that
it is not the case with Python. The first problem is that I will be very
pissed off if I write in a particular style and then check my document
in and get it back in a very different style. The second problem is that
"diff" will report that every line has changed. That in turn messes up

I prefer to operate on a hands-off basis. What you edit is what you
check in is what is stored is what gets checked out is what you edit.
The first time some SGML user messes this up I expect everyone will be
rightly pissed off. This means that we need to make the simplified SGML
vs. XML choice for real. We can't presume that everyone will do what
they like. I could live with XML but I think that the cost of allowing
shorttend <emph>end tags</> is pretty minor and can make a huge
difference in type-ability.

Con: this will break compatibility with some XML editors -- do we expect
Python hackers to use sissified GUI editors?? :)

 Paul Prescod