Re: [unrev-II] Editing an arbitrary XML document

From: Markus Fleck (
Date: Sat Jul 22 2000 - 02:49:39 PDT

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    Eric Armstrong:
    > IMPACT
    > ------
    > The impact of the issues go well beyond simple aesthetics,
    > however. At the moment, the world's data is divided into
    > several format categories:
    > * easily viewed and edited plain text
    > * hard to view (proprietary) structured formats
    > * very hard to view binary formats

    XML makes another category:
        * easily viewed and hard to edit (proprietary) structured formats

    I don't think that a "generalized" XML tree structure editor is very useful,
    apart from doing low-level work (i.e. an "XML debugger" for well-known XML
    DTDs). Inline display of tags, to me, looks rather specific to applications
    of XML to traditional text mark-up. But what about Scalable Vector Graphics
    (SVG), which is also based on XML? Does it really matter whether you edit
    SVG tags inline or in a tree structure?

    I think that every class of XML data formats needs a specialized editor, and
    specialized import and export conversion filters. (After all, I *do* prefer
    a text editor that displays text in italics to one that displays only the
    mark-up, even if the mark-up is displayed inline.)

    But what XML is currently missing, apart from a more expressive (schema)
    syntax for DTDs, is a formalism for encapsulation (aka "XML-MIME"). It
    should become possible to embed e.g. SVG in a text document, in a way that
    can easily be detected and handled (and verified) automatically by an
    (intelligent) document editor. Then, if all else fails, an editor can
    implement tree-structure editing for all parts of the data that it doesn't
    know, and implement a more WYSIWYG-like editing for "well-known" data
    formats. I believe this to be another missing link for Berners-Lee words at
    a WWW conference:

      "You need to build a system that is future-proof; it's no good just making
      a modular system. You need to realize that your system is just going to be
      a module in some bigger system to come, and so you have to be part of
      something else, and it's a bit of a way of life."

    By the way, this also appears to call for more advanced DTD/schema


    Markus Fleck * GNU GLUE Groupware Project *

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