Up: THE COMMON BUSINESS
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This summarizes and extends remarks made in the 1998 footnotes.
- It is important to keep the language incrementally extendable.
Many extensions will add detail to messages so that less human
intervention will be required.
- Lisp notation is better. Oh, well, the committees have decided
otherwise. Anyway XML is isomorphic to the subset of Lisp data
where the first item in a list is required to be atomic.
- Lisp data provides the additional generality that the first item
of the list may itself be compound and have to be evaluated to
determine how the rest of the list is to be interpreted. I don't know
whether this would get much use in CBCL or XML.
- Use modifiers like ADJECTIVE. Thus (ADJECTIVE FOO YELLOW) means
a yellow FOO. However, a program not yet equipped to understand
YELLOW but which can understand FOO may be able to do something useful
with the information, given the convention that (ADJECTIVE x y) is a
kind of y. Many English adjectives are not used this way, and we
propose only to use such proper adjectives.
- All expressions that may be taken apart should have the standard
syntax at least as an alternative to special string syntaxes. The
Lisp systems don't do this properly, e.g. with time strings, and I
notice that the W3 draft doesn't either. In Lisp a time has the
string format exemplified by Wed Nov 11 12:58:28 1998. It should
also allow the format (TIME <weekday> <month> <hour>
<minute> <second>). The operators on such string should
have the names they would have in the list or XML format.
Fri May 7 13:56:17 PDT 1999