[whatwg] Section 1.7 "abstract language"

Elliotte Rusty Harold elharo at ibiblio.org
Thu Aug 6 10:44:40 PDT 2009

"This specification defines an abstract language for describing
documents and applications, and some APIs for interacting with
in-memory representations of resources that use this language."

The phrase "abstract language" concerns me. It's not clear to me that
a language can be abstract, nor is it clear to me what this phrase
refers to, especially since it seems to be distinguished from the
"concrete syntaxes that can be used to transmit resources that use
this abstract language, two of which are defined in this

Perhaps there's some sort of abstract data model or information model
here; but I don't believe that the word "language" is appropriate to
describe this. Language as normally understood is a collection of
actual words or symbols, written or spoken. It is not a collection of
abstract concepts, at least not in any definition of the term I was
able to find.


Elliotte Rusty Harold
elharo at ibiblio.org

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