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Re: [ontolog-forum] fitness of XML for ontology(WAS: [ontology-summit] T

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 2014 21:50:17 -0800
Message-id: <C4A92B206E0743BB91C808CD94030169@Gateway>
Dear John, Duane and Paul,    (01)

XML is a standard with a VERY large following.  It
is often used for event processing, and for
interchange of highly structured data between
diverse computers and diverse applications.  For
that reason, it is relatively easy for a
standardized XML form to be interchanged.  But it
is very difficult to develop your own standard XML
form; at least it is very difficult compared to
JSON.      (02)

Languages such as Delphi have XML parser
components built into the IDE.  There are two
kinds of such XML parsers which are both free to
the average programmer with an IDE.  One component
type takes its syntax from a file containing a
specification of the objects, attributes and
domains of a defined standard, while the other
kind takes it syntax from nothing whatsoever, and
just parses the XML into objects, attributes, and
domain values.      (03)

Event processing is typically accomplished by the
client sending a request in XML, and the server
responding with the XML binding to values relevant
to the event semantics.  A sequence of such
messages makes up the entire event stream.      (04)

For example, the title of real estate properties
tends to be expressed in an awkward textual
description of the meets and bounds of the
property.  That text is mostly unstructured, but
other objects and attributes and values of the
same XML message can be simple scalars designed to
help process the event messages.      (05)

For the defined standards (or even for your
particularly defined application even if it is
unique), the parser does lots of error checking
and provides exceptions wherever the standard is
not met, either by omission or by commission.
That makes it valuable in applications where such
errors are made too frequently.  Typically that is
for programmer-generated forms that go through
several iterations until the programmers find a
deterministic path through the standard.      (06)

The other kind, where the programmer defines a
unique "standard" used only by that server and
that client in a specific application, is less
useful because it lacks such detailed error
checking.  However, it still provides the rigidity
of XML forms meant to convey the proper semantic
information in an easily harnessed manner.      (07)

XML is here to stay, IMHO, because it fills the
void left by lack of a truly semantic vehicle for
transmission of messages.  For now, XML is the
best choice, though it could certainly use
improvement over time.      (08)

Also, IMHO, English (or other natural language) is
the best vehicle for semantic transmission, but we
have yet to perfect the mechanics of it.      (09)

-Rich    (010)

Rich Cooper
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2
-----Original Message-----
From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Paul Tyson
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2014 9:00 PM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] fitness of XML for
ontology(WAS: [ontology-summit] The tools are not
the problem (yet))    (011)

On Mon, 2014-02-03 at 09:55 -0800, Duane Nickull
> JSON is a generalized markup.  I can use the key
values to describe any
> other domain.    (012)

Sure you can. Like Humpty-Dumpty, you can pay any
string of characters
extra to do whatever you want it to do. But you
typically have to pay
less for them in XML because the XML parser does a
lot of the tedious
work for you. Take for example the class of
well-paid strings known in
SGML as "generic identifiers", or in XML simply as
"element names". They
are instantly recognized by the XML parser as
markup, whereas a key
value in JSON is just another key value until the
programmer writes some
code to handle it otherwise.    (013)

The "generalized" part of generalized markup
applies to grammar as well.
You can construct your own markup tokens at will
without having to
reconfigure the parser. If your application (or
development process)
requires validation of the markup, it falls out of
the box with XML. Not
so with JSON.    (014)

> XMl has nothing to do with semantics.    (015)

I'm not sure what you mean here, but I think I
agree, and I call it
goodness. The purpose of a markup language is
first off to separate one
string of characters from another, and secondly to
guide the parser in
putting the various chunks in different buckets so
the application can
do something useful with them. I don't know in
what sense "semantics" is
needed or wanted for these operations.    (016)

> XML has the ability to make data portable and
can be used to transfer
> ontological or semantic models, or fragments
thereof, between applications.    (017)

Understated but accurate.    (018)

--Paul    (019)

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