A natural-language approach to modeling: Why is some XML so difficult to write?

Yves Marcoux

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Writing valid XML can be viewed as a collaborative process in which (roughly speaking) the modeler supplies the structure (markup), and the author the contents. When an information management chain includes document creation by a human, failure to mobilize and properly support the author in his task may result in errors or loss of valuable information. In this paper, we first argue that the usual pragmatical approaches to specifying the semantics of XML models do not allow authoring environments to easily provide sufficient semantic support to authors, whereas syntactic support is profusely available. Then, we sketch a semantic framework (provisionally called intertextual semantics), which we think could allow modelers to specify the semantics of their models in a form that can be turned into semantic support to authors in authoring environments. We discuss the pros and cons of the proposed framework, as well as avenues for further work.

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