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HomeRants > Goodbye documents, hello objects! > Modeling informative objects > Define entities--and other alien creatures




Specify your syndicated content

Specify your functions

Define entities--and other alien creatures

Entities are objects that exist only to point to other objects, such as special characters, blocks of boilerplate text, an image file, audio, or video.

If you have some boilerplate description of your company, and you want to drop that into many different web pages, you may want to create an entity. An entity is a placeholder, pointing to the description.

In this way, you can modify the original text once, and have it populate the rest of your pages, without having to go to each page, and fix it.

Entities are special objects, because during processing they are replaced by whatever they point to:

  • Standard text
  • Images
  • Sound
  • Video
  • Product Names
  • Logos
  • Special characters that may not be available in your current font, or encoding

Specify your syndicated content

The best syndicated content comes with its own information model, expressed in a DTD or schema, and articulated with XML tags.

If you want to transform this material, you need to make up a new model, using their elements.

Specify your functions

Your programming team must write specs for any new functions you expect to plug into your site, such as currency converters, price calculators. You need information such as:

  • Input (type, size, source)
  • Processing (what goes on inside the function)
  • Output (type, size, format, destination)

Next: Describe what you create--with metadata

Related articles:

Form for Modeling an Object (PDF)

A rhetoric of objects

Complexity theory as a way of understanding the Web

Structuring complex interactive information

Modeling information in electronic space


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