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Subject: RE: Tag Languages, UID's etc.


I like human readable tag names.  For me, that means ENGLISH based tag
names.  For Pierre, it may be FRENCH based tag names.  My Schema won't have
French tag names, and Pierre's schema won't have English tag names.  When we
exchange documents, his computer will reference his Schema (stored in an
ebXML repository next to mine perhaps), and my computer will use his Schema
to get at the UID's that tell my computer what to do.  We'll likely each
have very simple programs that can re-tag a message instance in the language
of our choice, should we care to do so.  If for some reason non-human
readable tag names are used (e.g., to reduce document length) I really won't
mind, since my re-tag program will produce a human readable copy on demand.


-----Original Message-----
From: Arnold, Curt [mailto:Curt.Arnold@hyprotech.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2001 1:43 PM
To: 'ebxml-core@lists.ebxml.org'
Subject: RE: Tag Languages, UID's etc.

I would actually hope the working groups are only paying lip service (I had
already typed that term before Mary Blantz's comment) to the UID concept,
since it seem antithetical to several key XML
design principles.  If ebXML is really going to be UID driven, then the name
should be changed to eb[something other than XML]

1. The tag name becomes just a comment.

All the other XML infrastructure uses the namespace qualified tag name as
the primary means of declaring meaning and allowable structure.  There is no
mechanism, for example, in XML schema to match a
content model to a specific value of an arbitrary attribute such as UID.

2. Interpretation requires either:

a) fetching an external resource

Fetching an arbitrary DTD to provide the UID's to enable a message to be
interpreted is unacceptible.  All sorts of denial of service attacks could
be launched by throwing messages with spurious DTD's
at a server (per David Megginson's "When XML turns Ugly" talk at XTech

If you don't dynamically fetch a DTD, then you are then creating an
interoperability problem since servers would each have their catalog of
known DTD's used to provide tag name <-> UID matching and
messages in less prominent languages would not be universally accepted.

b) Using the internal subset

Which few processors will build.  For example, XSLT won't build an internal

c) Putting the UID explicitly on each element

This is case, if you have:

<!--  Invoice is just an comment  -->
<Invoice UID="{208AA0C4-8612-4327-823C-784278F0D0BE}"/>

Why not just format uid so that it is a valid name and do:

<!-- Invoice  -->
<_208AA0C4-8612-4327-823C-784278F0D0BE ...>

Then at least you can do schema-based validation.

3. Locale favoritism is attacked at the cost of making the messages hard to
comprehend in all locales.

One of the design goals for XML was that it should support human legible
documents.  For a human to interpret an UID based document, you have to 1)
read the tag name, 2) look up the tag name in the
DTD to find the UID, look up the UID to find the meaning.

The combination of a URI and an XML name
("http://www.ebxml.org/Namespace/Purchasing" + "invoice") is sufficient to
provide the link to a "wealth of semantic information" using RDF and other

The value of localizing machine-to-machine communications is lost on me
since the processing infrastructure (programming languages, operating
systems, etc) already have a strong English bias and
programmers will already have some familiarity with English.

However, as an native English speaker, I would much rather have the tag name
for an invoice be <ebxml:Rechnung>, <ebxml:Facture>, <ebxml:factura> than
Just pick some human language as the canonical representation.  Then XSLT
transforms can be used, when needed, to convert the document to a
locale-specific form for human analysis.  But the processing
systems shouldn't have to be burdened with having 100+ synonyms for every

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