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Subject: RE: [bdx] New version of BDEA uploaded


At 2011-03-30 13:44 +0100, Mike Edwards wrote:
>And those UBL prefixes are a REAL turn-off - very complex and hard to parse.

They are XML well-formed and are no more 
difficult to parse than any other namespace declaration.

>They are not a good model in my opinion.  They 
>make a document that contains them pretty well unreadable.

A human reader of an XML document is interested 
only in namespace prefixes and not in namespace 
URIs ... once one accepts, say, the "cac" prefix 
represents aggregate items and the "cbc" prefix 
represents basic items by the URI that is used 
for each, then one can easily distinguish between 
"cac:Location" and "cbc:Location" when reading the element names.

The data model of UBL is, therefore, elegantly 
and explicitly reflected in the use of namespaces 
in the XML document.  Namespaces are an excellent 
model for expressing the mixing of and the makeup 
of XML vocabularies.  XML documents express 
information in a machine-readable format, so XML 
should be designed to best reflect what the 
machine needs to know about the content.  Such 
content often has more important nuances and 
ramifications that a human reader doesn't 
typically think about (but that doesn't make them less important).

But, that an XML version of a complex business 
document (or any XML document) is readable or 
unreadable by a human is only an issue in 
disaster recovery or situational recovery when 
tools designed to work with XML are not 
available.  I'm not expecting production UBL 
documents or BDX documents to be written by hand 
or read by eye, so in my opinion such criticisms are out of scope.

I did not want to initiate the "everyone hates 
namespaces" permathread in this forum, but I did 
want to say these age-old complaints about 
namespaces are unfounded and spread FUD 
unnecessarily when raised in 
discussions.  Computers do not get confused about 
namespaces and readers handle namespace prefixes just fine.

I hope this is considered helpful.  I feel 
obliged to respond because I worry such negative 
comments will imprint on na´ve novice end-users 
before they can understand and appreciate that 
perceived complexity is not there just to be 
complex but that computers understand it all with 
an express purpose in mind.  XML is all the better because of it.

. . . . . . . . . Ken


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