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Subject: Re: How to reprsent field length in XML?
From: "Borden, Jonathan" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:General discussion of Extensible Markup Language <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 26 Nov 1998 10:49:03 -0500

text/plain (29 lines)

> > >
> > > How do we represent this field lengths in XML?
> >
> > <!ELEMENT FirstName (#PCDATA)>
> > <!ATTLIST FirstName Length "30" #FIXED>
> Am I misguided to regard this as a perfect example of the ephemera of
> presentation contaminating the ontology of markup? Surely the full names
> should be marked up as XML. To render a name for a 30 character database
> field, it should be put through a styling transformation, where it might
> also, for example, be converted to all upper case.

I don't see this as a "contamination" any more than a particular x386
processor is a contamination of the concept of the Turing machine. To me
this is an example of an attribute conveying an intended syntactic
constraint. Perhaps he wants to represent the database schema in XML.
Perhaps the database has a physical limit. Having a "Length" attribute
imposes no (DTD) restrictions on the Element FirstName and if such a
transformation where to be applied (i.e. imposing a length restriction), the
transformer might obtain this limit from the attribute rather than be
encoded in the transformer itself. Hence we can use more general transforms,
stylesheets etc. which is always a good thing. OTOH if we are arguing about
the abstract representation of a person-name then your concern is

Jonathan Borden
JABR Technology Corp.

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