[whatwg] Section 1.7 "abstract language"

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Thu Aug 13 19:10:34 PDT 2009

On Thu, 6 Aug 2009, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
> "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 specification."
> 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.
> http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=define%3Alanguage&aq=f&oq=&aqi=g10

What term would you recommend rather than "language" that is more 
understandable than "data model" or "information model"?

Would "vocabulary" be ok?

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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