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Mar 30, 2003

At 8:00pm last night, the new northbound lanes of Interstate 93 in Boston opened to traffic. I took a ride through the new new tunnel.

It’s different than I expected (much windier than I expected), but overall, I think the project did a good job. I’m sure there will be some bumps (the Boston Globe is reported 6 fender benders during the first full day), and it remains to be seen whether the new highway will stand the test of time. But despite all of the controversy associated with the Central/Artery Tunnel Project, the project staff have a good reason to stand tall. I’m certainly proud to have been a (admittedly small) part of it. Great job people.

Tim Bray says XML Doesn’t Suck, which is not too surprising since he helped to develop XML from SGML. He points out that one of the “XML Does Suck” arguments is that

“XML has a stupid design with two completely different mechanisms for holding content (elements and attributes).”

I agree that the existence of both elements and attributes within XML can make things confusing. Specifically, there is very little guidance that governs when one should use an element vs. an attribute.

The documentation for the Water language tries to provide such guidance. Chapter 2 makes the argument (I’m paraphrasing big time here) that most data should be implemented using attributes. Of course this is contrary to the typical use of attributes for metadata, but then again, I guess all data can be described as metadata for some other superset of data. Is the Water philosophy correct? I don’t know, but I think it’s worth exploring. I may apply this to my Acoustic XML data format and see how it flies.

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