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Subject: [legalxml-econtracts] Numeric precision

>I don't stop with languages. I do also propose that financial amounts be encapsulated within elements that indicate their 
>currencies (and scale), e.g., <usd>1000</usd> represents $1000 USD, which is equivalent to <usd3>1</usd3> .... 

Whoops, meant to say that <usd.x3>1</usd.x3> is equivalent to <usd>1000</usd>, which of course is equivalent to <usd.x0>1000</usd.x0>. For negative exponents, a different introducer (e.g., "y") is necessary because, per ECMAScript, names are not allowed to contain dashes. Unlike text strings, numeric strings cannot be fragmented. Accordingly, "15 millions of square meters" would be coded <m2.x6>15</m2.x6> or, if used within a "names" attribute, would be as follows (in this example, the names attribute is on an HTML element as might be produced by an XSL stylesheet):

	<span names='SurfaceArea.m2.x6'>15</span> 

or when "naively normalized" to XML elements:


I think that this is pretty clear coding, particularly when compared with say the XBRL alternative. In XBRL, "precision" is indicated by an attribute, and the units for a numeric quantity are expressed using 2 (!) elements. The following is their expression for indicating that a quantity is in British Pounds:


To be fair in this comparison, XBRL's architecture allows one to define other kinds of "units" -- such as Earnings Per Share -- so XBRL needed a container-element in which to place the defining equation. For instance, the code below is the definition for Earnings per Share (EPS), as measured in Euros per Share. 

		<operator name=divide>

[ Personally, I think the XBRL notion of "units" is faaar too broad, providing an open-ended set of unit definitions. EPS is clearly a numeric quantity in its own right, an attribute of one or more  shares of stock. EPS hardly seems to be a unit of measurement. Nor are the shares themselves (see <measure>xbrli:shares</measure>) a unit of measurement. Orwellian element-naming at work perhaps.]

My point is that we're all beginning to see alot of useless metadata being mandated for "standardized" XML datastreams -- when all we need is a simple expression of what units and precision apply to a given numeric quantity. I must say, it sure looks like intellectual snobbery to require everyone in Europe to learn "ISO4217:EUR" in order to express any financial Euro quantity in an XML datastream. What's so terribly wrong with <eur>1000</eur>? 
John McClure

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