Trying it out

Robert A. (Bob) Morris ram at CS.UMB.EDU
Mon Aug 14 07:24:27 CEST 2000

Kevin Thiele writes:
 > Date:         Mon, 14 Aug 2000 15:28:20 +1000
 > From: Kevin Thiele <kevin.thiele at PI.CSIRO.AU>
 > To: TDWG-SDD at
 > Subject:      Re: Trying it out
 > Bryan - great!
 > ...
 > by the objective. The advantage of this is being able to bundle individual
 > treatments in different ways (for different projects);

We try to teach programming students that their abstractions should
not forclose the use of data and code in presently unforseen
applications. Software developers should never be permitted to utter
"Why would anyone want to do X?" for any value of X. (FWIW, the most
common bugs in languages such as C which do not do type checking arise
from buffer overruns because a programmer said something like "Why
would anyone ever want more than 256 <something> ? "

 > the disadvantage is
 > having to make sure that such cross-bundling works - ie you may end up
 > bundling together several taxon treatments with different character lists.

As I frequently rave, this is an argument in favor of object
oriented data representations, which are ipso-fact
self-describing. XML is a simple way to accomplish this, but so are
object oriented databases such as Object Store and its
competitors. The book by Abiteboul et al. "Data on the Web"
describes---albeit sometimes with some deep theory---how one can
combine data whose objects have different descriptions.

Bob Morris

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